2-Deoxy-2-18F-fluoro-d-glucose (2-FDG) with PET is undeniably useful in the clinic, being able, among other uses, to monitor change over time using the 2-FDG SUV metric. This report suggests some potentially serious caveats for this and related roles for 2-FDG PET. Most critical is the assumption that there is an exact proportionality between glucose metabolism and 2-FDG metabolism, called the lumped constant, or LC. This report describes that LC is not constant for a specific tissue and may be variable before and after disease treatment. The purpose of this work is not to deny the clinical value of 2-FDG PET; it is a reminder that when one extends the use of an appropriately qualified imaging method, new observations may arise and further validation would be necessary. The current understanding of glucose-based energetics in vivo is based on the quantification of glucose metabolic rates with 2-FDG PET, a method that permits the noninvasive assessment of various human disorders. However, 2-FDG is a good substrate only for facilitated-glucose transporters (GLUTs), not for sodium-dependent glucose cotransporters (SGLTs), which have recently been shown to be distributed in multiple human tissues. Thus, the GLUT-mediated in vivo glucose utilization measured by 2-FDG PET would be masked to the potentially substantial role of functional SGLTs in glucose transport and use. Therefore, under these circumstances, the 2-FDG LC used to quantify in vivo glucose utilization should not be expected to remain constant. 2-FDG LC variations have been especially significant in tumors, particularly at different stages of cancer development, affecting the accuracy of quantitative glucose measures and potentially limiting the prognostic value of 2-FDG, as well as its accuracy in monitoring treatments. SGLT-mediated glucose transport can be estimated using α-methyl-4-deoxy-4-18F-fluoro-d-glucopyranoside (Me-4FDG). Using both 2-FDG and Me-4FDG should provide a more complete picture of glucose utilization via both GLUT and SGLT transporters in health and disease states. Given the widespread use of 2-FDG PET to infer glucose metabolism, it is relevant to appreciate the potential limitations of 2-FDG as a surrogate for glucose metabolic rate and the potential reasons for variability in LC. Even when the readout for the 2-FDG PET study is only an SUV parameter, variability in LC is important, particularly if it changes over the course of disease progression (e.g., an evolving tumor).
- FDG PET
- lumped constant
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging