Recent improvements in alveolar echinococcosis (AE) therapy can provide long-term disease control, and even allow structured treatment interruption in selected cases. Imaging has a pivotal role in monitoring disease activity, with 18-fluoro-deoxyglucose positron emission and computed tomography (18F-FDG-PET/CT) in particular having proven beneficial for assessing disease activity. Repetitive regular examinations to monitor therapy response, however, can lead to substantial radiation burden. Therefore, by combining metabolic information and excellent tissue contrast in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), PET/MR appears ideally suited for this task. Here, we retrospectively analyzed 51 AE patients that underwent 18F-FDG-PET/MR. Patients had a 'confirmed/probable' diagnosis in 22/29 cases according to the WHO classification. FDG uptake, diffusion restriction, and MRI morphology were evaluated. We found significant differences in FDG uptake between responders to benzimidazole therapy and progressive manifestations (SUVavg 2.7 ± 1.3 vs. 5.4 ± 2.2, p < 0.001) as well as between Kodama Types 1 and 3 (F = 9.9, p < 0.003). No significant differences were detected for ADC values or MRI morphology concerning response and no correlations were present between FDG uptake and ADC values. The mean radiation dose was 5.9-6.5 mSv. We conclude that the combination of metabolic information and MRI morphology at a low radiation dose proposes PET/MR as a suitable imaging modality for AE assessment. Longitudinal studies are needed to define the role of this imaging modality.
Eberhardt N, Peters L, Kapp-Schwoerer S, Beer M, Beer AJ, Grüner B, Thaiss WM: 18F-FDG-PET/MR in Alveolar Echinococcosis: Multiparametric Imaging in a Real-World Setting. Pathogens 11(3):348 (2022)