PET/CT: C-reactive protein could be a precursor to cardiovascular disease

FDG uptake rose substantially in PET/CT scans of patients with higher levels of C-reative protein in their carotid arteries, pinpointing a potential biomarker for cardiovascular disease, according to an article published online Oct. 31 in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Tae Soo Noh, a researcher from the department of nuclear medicine at Samsung Medical Center and Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul, Korea, and colleagues assessed the association between F-18 FDG uptake in carotid arteries, a

high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and patient risk using the standard Framingham risk score (FRS), which calculated the estimated 10-year risk of developing cardiovascular disease in a group of 1,181 adults without symptoms of heart disease.

“High carotid F-18 FDG uptake in asymptomatic adults is associated with increased clinical risk factors and greater FRS,” wrote the authors. “Furthermore, carotid F-18 FDG uptake appears to reflect aspects of atherosclerotic inflammation distinct from [high-sensitivity C-reactive protein] level and may offer incremental risk–related information.”

Researchers found that FRS scores swelled from about 11.5 percent risk of developing cardiovascular disease to 14.8 percent in patients with maximum target-to-background ratios greater or equal to 1.7, indicating a strong link between FDG uptake, carotid C-reative protein levels and risk of disease.

Additional studies need to be conducted to gain a better understanding of the full impact of C-reative protein levels in the development of atherosclerosis.