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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 248-258

Why is it important to report early possible COVID-19 PET/CT findings in cancer patients? Explaining with a case series

1 Department of Microbiology, Tepecik Training and Research Hospital, Izmir, Turkey
2 Department of Nuclear Medicine, Izmir Dr. Suat Seren Chest Diseases and Surgery Training and Research Hospital, Izmir, Turkey
3 Department of Thoracic Surgery, Izmir Dr. Suat Seren Chest Diseases and Surgery Training and Research Hospital, Izmir, Turkey
4 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tepecik Training and Research Hospital, Izmir, Turkey

Correspondence Address:
Emine Budak
Department of Nuclear Medicine, Izmir Dr. Suat Seren Chest Diseases and Surgery Training and Research Hospital, Izmir
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_645_20

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Background: Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) causing a pandemic mostly results in mild symptoms; however, it can evolve into serious complications. It is emphasized that if the term from the recent anticancer treatment to the diagnosis of COVID-19 was short, the probability of serious events increased in cancer patients. Therefore, early detection of COVID-19 and prevention of serious events is very important. We aimed to investigate whether it is possible to detect COVID-19 early by positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT). Methods: We retrospectively evaluated the images and clinical findings of patients who underwent PET/CT due to malignancy and whose COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test were detected positive subsequently. Results: Eight cancer patients with positive COVID-19 PCR tests were included in the study. PET/CT revealed subpleural ground-glass opacities (GGOs) showing mild fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) uptake that could be compatible with COVID-19 in 4 of 8 patients. The number of affected lobes ranged from 1-4. All patients were diagnosed with COVID-19 by PCR test when symptoms and/or lung findings worsened on the days after PET/CT. The time interval between the last anticancer treatment and COVID-19 diagnosis in five patients was ≤7 days. During the follow-up, six of the cases (75%) needed mechanical ventilation and died later. Conclusion: COVID-19 may be recognised early by detecting incidental findings in PET/CT, especially in asymptomatic cancer patients. Potential complications may be prevented by early diagnosis and anticancer therapy changes. Therefore, possible COVID-19 findings in PET/CT should be reported and the patient should be referred to relevant clinician.


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