JNM: NaF PET/CT feasible for imaging of atherosclerotic plaque

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F18-sodium fluoride PET/CT may provide relevant information about the morphologic and functional properties of calcified plaque, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Thorsten Derlin, MD, from the department of nuclear medicine at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany, and colleagues evaluated retrospectively the image data from 75 patients undergoing whole-body F18-sodium fluoride PET/CT.

F18-sodium fluoride PET/CT may provide relevant additional information regarding plaque physiology, according to Derlin and colleagues.

The researchers assessed the F18-sodium fluoride uptake at 254 sites in 76 percent of the 75 participants, and calcification at 1,930 sites in 84 percent of the patients.

Colocalization of radiotracer accumulation and calcification could be observed in 223 areas of uptake (88 percent) and unlike 18F-FDG or choline derivatives, F18-sodium fluoride may provide new insights into the functional properties of calcified lesions. However, they noted that only 12 percent of all arterial calcification sites showed increased radiotracer uptake.

"Although the precise mechanism of F18-sodium fluoride uptake is not fully known yet, one may assume that it indicates ongoing active mineral deposition in atherosclerotic lesions. Further prospective studies are needed to determine the prognostic value of tracer uptake and to determine whether it might effectively target therapeutic interventions to influence clinical outcomes,” added Derlin and colleagues.