Unfolding the role of PET FDG scan in the management of thyroid incidentaloma in cancer patients

Haim Gavriel, Adrian Tang, Ephraim Eviatar, Sor Way Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Thyroid incidentaloma detected on FDG-PET scan has been reported repeatedly in the last several years, though conflicting data are reported. Our aim is to identify the incidence and outcome of incidental FDG-PET detected thyroid lesions in patients undergoing FDG-PET scan for other primary malignancies and to suggest a management algorithm. This is a retrospective review of all patients who had a FDG-PET detected incidental thyroid lesion between January 2002 and December 2009 at Peter MacCallum Cancer Center. Demographics, data relating to PET scan findings, FNA diagnoses, operative details, and histopathology were reviewed. Of the 1,034 subjects who underwent the FDG-PET study, 51 (4.9 %) were identified as having thyroid incidentaloma, 31 females and 20 males with a mean age of 60 years. Thyroid malignancy was noted in 39.5 % (19/48 patients) who underwent FNAB. Sixteen underwent thyroidectomy. The histopathology revealed 12 patients with papillary carcinoma, 5 with follicular carcinoma and 2 with medullary carcinoma. The high rates are in concordance with analysis of the rates published in the literature. In patients with thyroid PET incidentaloma, the incidence of primary thyroid malignancy is very high as reported in our study and based on analysis of published data, necessitating further investigation. If assessment of these incidentalomas suggests malignancy, then appropriate surgical management may be warranted according to the patient’s medical condition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3120
Pages (from-to)1763-1768
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 26 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Incidentaloma
  • Outcome
  • PET
  • Thyroid


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