The Frequency of Focal Thyroid Incidental Findings and Risk of Malignancy Detected by 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography in an Iodine Deficient Population

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Incidental focal uptake of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) in the thyroid on positron emission tomography (PET/CT) is rare but often associated with malignancy. The epidemiology of thyroid incidentalomas has only to some extent been described in countries with iodine deficiency. Here we report data from Denmark, a country with known iodine deficiency and wide access to PET/CT. All FDG PET/CT comprising the head and neck region, during 2014, were retrospectively reviewed, and patients with focal FDG uptake in the thyroid gland were identified. A total of 2451 patients had an FDG PET/CT of which 59 (2.4%) patients presented with FDG-avid focal lesions in the thyroid gland. Among the 59 patients with FDG-avid lesions, 33 patients (56%) received work up with ultrasound, thyroid technetium scintigraphy, fine needle aspiration, and/or histology of which 20 patients had a conclusive pathology report. Ten patients with FDG-avid lesions were identified with thyroid malignancy. The risk of thyroid malignancy was 16.9% among patient with incidental FDG-avid thyroid lesions. Our findings indicated a similar frequency of FDG thyroid incidentalomas and malignancy rates in an iodine deficient population compared to summary data from prior studies, studies mostly performed in geographical areas of normal or excess iodine supplementation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number46
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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