Detection of thyroiditis on PET/CT imaging: a systematic review



The incidence and clinical significance of thyroiditis detected by molecular imaging methods is a clinical challenge that is not widely investigated in the literature. The aim of this systematic review was to analyze published data about the detection of thyroiditis on PET or PET/CT using different tracers.


A comprehensive computer literature search of the Scopus, PubMed/MEDLINE, Embase, and Cochrane library databases was conducted up to November 2019 to find relevant papers on the detection of thyroiditis by PET/CT, the metabolic appearance, and the clinical significance.


Twenty-six articles were selected and retrieved in full-text version. From the analyses of these studies, the following main findings have been found. Diffuse thyroid uptake of PET tracers is a relatively frequent event, ranging from 0.4 to 46.2%, and it is commonly related to benign disease. Thyroiditis is the most frequent reason for diffuse increased thyroid 18F-FDG uptake. Cases of malignant disease with a pattern of diffuse 18F-FDG thyroid uptake are less frequent. Preliminary studies show a possible role of thyroiditis detected by 18F-FDG PET/CT in evaluating treatment response and as a prognostic marker in oncological patients treated with immunotherapy. However, further studies are needed.


Diffuse 18F-FDG thyroid uptake is a relatively rare event commonly due to benign diseases, among which thyroiditis is the most common. The rate of neoplastic disease with diffuse 18F-FDG thyroid uptake is very low. Diffuse 18F-FDG thyroid uptake requires further investigation and clinical evaluation for the correct diagnosis. Currently, cases of diffuse thyroid uptake with non-18F-FDG radiotracer are only anecdotal.

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Correspondence to Domenico Albano.

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Albano, D., Treglia, G., Giovanella, L. et al. Detection of thyroiditis on PET/CT imaging: a systematic review. Hormones 19, 341–349 (2020).

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  • PET/CT
  • PET
  • Systematic review
  • Thyroiditis
  • Thyroid
  • Diffuse thyroid uptake