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COVID-19 vaccine related hypermetabolic lymph nodes on PET/CT: Implications of inflammatory findings in cancer imaging

FERDINANDO CALABRIA1, ANTONIO BAGNATO1, GIULIANA GUADAGNINO2, MARIA TOTEDA1, ANTONIO LANZILLOTTA1, STEFANIA CARDEI1, ROSANNA TAVOLARO1, MARIO LEPORACE1,*

1 Department of Nuclear Medicine and Theragnostics, Mariano Santo Hospital, Cosenza, 87100, Italy
2 Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, St. Annunziata Hospital, Cosenza, 87100, Italy

* Corresponding Author: MARIO LEPORACE. Email: email

Oncology Research 2023, 31(2), 117-124. https://doi.org/10.32604/or.2023.027705

Abstract

We observed several patients presenting 2-[18F]FDG uptake in the reactive axillary lymph node at PET/CT imaging, ipsilateral to the site of the COVID-19 vaccine injection. Analog finding was documented at [18F]Choline PET/CT. The aim of our study was to describe this source of false positive cases. All patients examined by PET/CT were included in the study. Data concerning patient anamnesis, laterality, and time interval from recent COVID-19 vaccination were recorded. SUVmax was measured in all lymph nodes expressing tracer uptake after vaccination. Among 712 PET/CT scans with 2-[18F]FDG, 104 were submitted to vaccination; 89/104 patients (85%) presented axillary and/or deltoid tracer uptake, related to recent COVID-19 vaccine administration (median from injection: 11 days). The mean SUVmax of these findings was 2.1 (range 1.6–3.3). Among 89 patients with false positive axillary uptake, 36 subjects had received chemotherapy due to lymph node metastases from somatic cancer or lymphomas, prior to the scan: 6/36 patients with lymph node metastases showed no response to therapy or progression disease. The mean SUVmax value of lymph nodal localizations of somatic cancers/lymphomas after chemotherapy was 7.8. Only 1/31 prostate cancer patients examined by [18F]Choline PET/CT showed post-vaccine axillary lymph node uptake. These findings were not recorded at PET/CT scans with [18F]-6-FDOPA, [68Ga]Ga-DOTATOC, and [18F]-fluoride. Following COVID-19 mass vaccination, a significant percentage of patients examined by 2-[18F]FDG PET/CT presents axillary, reactive lymph node uptake. Anamnesis, low-dose CT, and ultrasonography facilitated correct diagnosis. Semi-quantitative assessment supported the visual analysis of PET/CT data; SUVmax values of metastatic lymph nodes were considerably higher than post-vaccine lymph nodes. [18F]Choline uptake in reactive lymph node after vaccination was confirmed. After the COVID-19 pandemic, nuclear physicians need to take these potential false positive cases into account in daily clinical practice.

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APA Style
CALABRIA, F., BAGNATO, A., GUADAGNINO, G., TOTEDA, M., LANZILLOTTA, A. et al. (2023). COVID-19 vaccine related hypermetabolic lymph nodes on PET/CT: implications of inflammatory findings in cancer imaging. Oncology Research, 31(2), 117-124. https://doi.org/10.32604/or.2023.027705
Vancouver Style
CALABRIA F, BAGNATO A, GUADAGNINO G, TOTEDA M, LANZILLOTTA A, CARDEI S, et al. COVID-19 vaccine related hypermetabolic lymph nodes on PET/CT: implications of inflammatory findings in cancer imaging. Oncol Res. 2023;31(2):117-124 https://doi.org/10.32604/or.2023.027705
IEEE Style
F. CALABRIA et al., "COVID-19 vaccine related hypermetabolic lymph nodes on PET/CT: Implications of inflammatory findings in cancer imaging," Oncol. Res., vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 117-124. 2023. https://doi.org/10.32604/or.2023.027705



cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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