Thyroid malignancies are relatively rare cancer types but have a substantially high incidence in the group of all endocrine malignancies. Most thyroid cancer patients have differentiated thyroid cancer and prognosis is generally favourable. Tumour growth tends to be slow and radioiodine therapy is successful in differentiated cell tumour type with the ability to accumulate iodine. So, where can 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET) imaging be applied? The role of FDG PET in differentiated thyroid cancer starts with the development of metastatic diseases, which are not responsive to radioiodine therapy anymore. FDG accumulates in tumour lesions that are missed by iodine scintigraphy. FDG PET is more sensitive in patients with an aggressive histological subtype, including Hürthle cell. Thyroid cancer is definitely not the role model indication for FDG PET imaging, but for the management of differentiated thyroid cancer with metastases and more aggressive types of malignancies of the thyroid, FDG PET proves to be clinically useful. Incidental detection of malignancy in FDG-avid thyroid nodules has to be taken into consideration when FDG PET examinations have been conducted for reasons unrelated to the thyroid.
Part of the book: Thyroid Cancer