Pigmented villonodular synovitis: Potential pitfall on oncologic 18F-FDG PET/CT

Stephen M. Broski, Nathan M. Murdoch, John A. Skinner, Doris E. Wenger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Purpose This study evaluated the semiquantitative and qualitative appearance of pigmented villonodular synovitis (PVNS) and giant cell tumor of the tendon sheath (GCTTS) on 18F-FDG PET/CT. Patients and Methods An institutional review board-approved retrospective review was performed for patients diagnosed with GCTTS, focal PVNS, or diffuse PVNS who underwent PET/CT from 2003 to 2013. SUVmax and SUVmax/SUVmean of the liver (SUVr) were determined for each lesion on all available PET/CTs. Relevant conventional imaging and patient records were reviewed. Results Fourteen patients (mean [SD] age, 52.8 [14.0] years; range, 26-74 years) were identified, 6 with 2 or more PET/CT examinations. The mean (SD) SUVmax and SUVr of all lesions were 8.7 (3.4; range, 4.0-14.5) and 3.9 (1.7; range, 2.0-7.1), respectively. There was no difference of the mean (SD) SUVmax (P = 0.10) or SUVr (P = 0.11) between focal PVNS (6.8 [3.0], 3.3 [1.9]), GCTTS (9.1 [3.0], 4.0 [1.2]), or diffuse PVNS (14.5, 7.1) subtypes. Of 29 comparison PET/CTs in 6 patients, 17 were performed after nontargeted chemotherapy and 12 without antecedent therapy. Significant SUVr fluctuations (>25%) occurred in 11 cases; no correlation existed between SUVr change and presence or absence of chemotherapy. Conclusions Pigmented villonodular synovitis and GCTTS can be intensely hypermetabolic, mimicking musculoskeletal metastases on 18F-FDG PET/CT. They may have significant SUV fluctuations, both during nontargeted chemotherapy and between treatments. The diagnosis of PVNS/GCTTS should be considered for focal intra-articular or juxta-articular FDG-avid lesions, and MRI is useful in further evaluation given the often diagnostic imaging features with this modality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e24-e31
JournalClinical nuclear medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • PET/CT
  • PVNS
  • giant cell tumor of the tendon sheath
  • tenosynovial giant cell tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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