Endocrinol Metab.  2014 Mar;29(1):5-11. 10.3803/EnM.2014.29.1.5.

Differential Diagnosis of Adrenal Mass Using Imaging Modality: Special Emphasis on F-18 Fluoro-2-Deoxy-D-Glucose Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography

  • 1Department of Nuclear Medicine, Dongnam Institute of Radiological & Medical Sciences, Busan, Korea.
  • 2Department of Nuclear Medicine, Kyungpook National University Hospital, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea. jaetae@knu.ac.kr


Adrenal incidentalomas are adrenal masses serendipitously detected during an imaging study performed for reasons unrelated to suspicion of adrenal disease. The incidence of adrenal incidentalomas has increased because of the widespread use of various imaging modalities. In oncology patients with adrenal incidentalomas, the characterization of the adrenal masses is challenging because nearly 50% of incidental adrenal masses are metastatic lesions that need special medical attention. Although unenhanced computed tomography (CT) densitometry, chemical shift magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), delayed contrast-enhanced CT and CT histogram analysis have been used as sensitive and specific modalities for differentiating benign from malignant adrenal masses, F-18 fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose positron emission tomography (F-18 FDG PET)/CT is a highly accurate imaging modality compared to CT or MRI, especially when these two imaging modalities are combined. In addition, a semiquantitative analysis using standardized uptake value ratio further improves the diagnostic accuracy of F-18 FDG PET/CT in differentiating benign from malignant adrenal masses. Thus, F-18 FDG PET/CT is very helpful for determining the best therapeutic management, especially for assessing the need for surgery.


Adrenal incidentalomas; Fluorodeoxyglucose F18; Integrated positron emission tomography-computed tomography; Multidetector computed tomography; Magnetic resonance imaging
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