Quantitative assessment of global lung inflammation following radiation therapy using FDG PET/CT: a pilot study

  • Sarah Abdulla
  • Ali Salavati
  • Babak Saboury
  • Sandip Basu
  • Drew A. Torigian
  • Abass Alavi
Original Article



Radiation pneumonitis is the most severe dose-limiting complication in patients receiving thoracic radiation therapy. The aim of this study was to quantify global lung inflammation following radiation therapy using FDG PET/CT.


We studied 20 subjects with stage III non-small-cell lung carcinoma who had undergone FDG PET/CT imaging before and after radiation therapy. On all PET/CT studies, the sectional lung volume (sLV) of each lung was calculated from each slice by multiplying the lung area by slice thickness. The sectional lung glycolysis (sLG) was calculated by multiplying the sLV and the lung sectional mean standardized uptake value (sSUVmean) on each slice passing through the lung. The lung volume (LV) was calculated by adding all sLVs from the lung, and the global lung glycolysis (GLG) was calculated by adding all sLGs from the lung. Finally, the lung SUVmean was calculated by dividing the GLG by the LV. The amount of inflammation in the lung parenchyma directly receiving radiation therapy was calculated by subtracting tumor measurements from GLG.


In the lung directly receiving radiation therapy, the lung parenchyma SUVmean and global lung parenchymal glycolysis were significantly increased following therapy. In the contralateral lung (internal control), no significant changes were observed in lung SUVmean or GLG following radiation therapy.


Global lung parenchymal glycolysis and lung parenchymal SUVmean may serve as potentially useful biomarkers to quantify lung inflammation on FDG PET/CT following thoracic radiation therapy.


Radiation pneumonitis Radiation therapy Lung inflammation FDG PET/CT Global lung glycolysis Lung parenchymal glycolysis 


Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Abdulla
    • 1
  • Ali Salavati
    • 1
  • Babak Saboury
    • 1
  • Sandip Basu
    • 2
  • Drew A. Torigian
    • 1
  • Abass Alavi
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Radiology, Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of Pennsylvania, and Hospital of the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Radiation Medicine CenterBhabha Atomic Research Center, Tata Memorial Center AnnexeBombayIndia
  3. 3.Department of Radiology, Division of Nuclear MedicineHospital of the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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