Preliminary investigation of brown adipose tissue assessed by PET/CT and cancer activity
To determine the role of brown adipose tissue (BAT) in cancer activity.
Materials and methods
The study group comprised 142 patients (121 female, 21 male; mean age, 49 ± 16 years) who underwent F18-FDG PET/CT (PET/CT) for staging or surveillance of cancer and who were BAT-positive on PET/CT. BAT volume by PET/CT, abdominal (visceral and subcutaneous) fat and paraspinous muscle cross-sectional areas (CSA) were assessed. Groups with and without active cancer on PET/CT were compared using a two-sided paired t test. Linear regression analyses between BAT and body composition parameters were performed.
There were 62 patients (54 female, eight male) who had active cancer on PET/CT and 80 patients (67 female, 13 male) without active cancer. Groups were similar in age and BMI (p ≥ 0.4), abdominal fat and muscle CSA, fasting glucose, and outside temperature at time of scan (p ≥ 0.2). Patients who had active cancer on PET/CT had higher BAT volume compared to patients without active cancer (p = 0.009). In patients without active cancer, BAT was positively associated with BMI and abdominal fat depots (r = 0.46 to r = 0.59, p < 0.0001) while there were no such associations in patients with active cancer (p ≥ 0.1). No associations between BAT and age or muscle CSA were found (p ≥ 0.1).
BAT activity is greater in patients with active cancer compared to age-, sex-, and BMI-matched BAT-positive patients without active cancer, suggesting a possible role of BAT in cancer activity.
KeywordsFDG-PET/CT Brown adipose tissue (BAT) Body composition Cancer activity
This study was supported by NIH grants K24 DK-109940 and P30DK040561.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was waived for this retrospective study.
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