Low incidence of malignancy in patients with suspected polymyalgia rheumatica or giant cell arteritis, examined with FDG-PET/CT

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: The need to systematically examine patients suspected of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) and giant cell arteritis (GCA) for malignancy is controversial. The aim of this study was to assess the frequency of malignancy in patients with suspected PMR and/or GCA who have been referred to a 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-D-glucose positron emission tomography with computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT) as part of the diagnostic investigation.

METHOD: The records of all patients referred to FDG-PET/CT from Center for Rheumatology and Spine Diseases, Rigshospitalet, Glostrup with the suspicion of PMR and/or GCA during a two-year period, were retrospectively reviewed. Data was analyzed with descriptive statistics, and a standard incidence ratio was calculated based on background cancer incidences extracted from the NORDCAN database.

RESULTS: 220 patients were included in the study. Findings suspicious of malignancy were found in 19 of the examinations, and in seven cases (3.2%), malignancy was confirmed. In three out of the seven cases the patients were diagnosed with PMR concomitantly with malignancy. The estimated standardized incidence ratio (SIR) for cancer compared to the background incidence of cancer in Denmark was 1.58 (95% CI 0.63-2.97), i.e., not statistically significant. There were no statistically significant differences in characteristics of the patients that were diagnosed with malignancy compared with those that were not.

CONCLUSION: The frequency of malignancy in this cohort of patients with suspected PMR/GCA who underwent PET/CT was low. Our results, though based on a small cohort, do not suggest that all patients with suspected PMR/GCA should systematically be examined with FDG-PET/CT for excluding malignancy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1309905
JournalFrontiers in Medicine
Volume11
Number of pages7
ISSN2296-858X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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