Background: In myasthenia gravis (MG) both native and ectopic thymic tissue containing germinal centers should show greater metabolism compared to adjacent tissues. We evaluated whether preoperative standardized uptake value (SUV) of 18fluoro-deoxy-glucose on Positron Emission Tomography (PET) might be increased and correlated with the presence of native or ectopic germinal centers. Methods: From 2005 to 2012 we performed extended thymectomy in 68 patients with non-thymomatous MG. All patients underwent PET-scan preoperatively and one-year postoperatively. SUVs were assessed in thymic and perithymic regions. Then it was matched with same-age, non-MG and non-neoplastic control group and finally correlated with presence of germinal centers in native thymus or in the ectopic tissue found in the surgical specimens. Results: Mean SUV was significantly increased in MG patients compared to control group. Thymic SUV was significantly higher in presence of thymic germinal centers [3.5 (2.4-5.0) Vs 2.1 (1.4-2.5), p = 0.021] while perithymic SUV was significantly higher in presence of ectopic germinal centers [3.1 (2.7-3.5) Vs 1.3 (0.9-1.7), p = 0.001]. SUV was significantly correlated with MG score (rho = 0.289, p = 0.017) and marginally with antibodies anti-acetylcholine receptors (rho = 0.129, p = 0.05). At Kaplan Meier analysis, ectopic thymic tissue (p = 0.045) and ectopic germinal centers (p = 0.036) were significant predictors of complete stable remission, but preoperative dichotomized thymic (3.5 or more Vs less) (p = 0.083) and perithymic (2.1 or more Vs less) (p = 0.052) SUVs did not. Conclusions: Thymic and perithymic SUVs were significantly higher in patients with MG than non-MG and non-neoplastic patients. Thymic SUV was significantly correlated with the presence of germinal centers. Perithymic SUV resulted significantly correlated with the discovery of ectopic active thymic tissue. Neither thymic nor perithymic high SUVs predicted remission.
- Myasthenia gravis
- Positron emission tomography
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine