Recent reports warn against erroneous mistaking of celiac and stellate sympathetic ganglia for metastatic lymph nodes on multimodal prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA)-ligand PET imaging. The aim was to check the intensity of Ga-PSMA-11 uptake and magnetic resonance (MR) features of superior cervical ganglia (SCG) on PET/MR imaging.

In 89 patients 106 SCG were reliably identified on Ga-PSMA-11 PET/MR. For each SCG, qualitative assessment (visual subjective avidity, diffusion restriction, shape, and the presence of central hypointensity) and quantitative measurements [dimensions, maximal standardized uptake value (SUVmax), mean apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC)] were performed.

Mean SUVmax in SCG amounted to 1.88 ± 0.63 (range: 0.87-4.42), with considerable metabolic activity (SUVmax ≥ 2) in 37.7% of SCG; mean thickness was 3.18 ± 1.08 mm. In subjective visual evaluation, SCG avidity was classified as mistakable or potentially mistakable with underlying malignancy in 32.1% of cases. Mean ADC values amounted 1749.83 ± 428.83 × 10mm/s. In visual assessment, 74.5% of ganglia showed moderate to high diffusion restriction. An oval or longitudinal shape on transverse MR plane was presented by 59.4% of SCG. The central hypointensity was detected on MR T2-weighted images only in 10.4% of SCG.

SCG, similar to other sympathetic ganglia, show Ga-PSMA-11 uptake. SCG avidity may be of significance, especially in view of frequently occurring SCG oval or longitudinal shape, and moderate to high diffusion restriction in visual assessment, potentially suggesting malignancy on transverse MR plane. Diagnostic imaging specialists and clinicians should be aware of the above.

Nuclear medicine communications. 2019 Aug 28 [Epub ahead of print]

Ewa J Bialek, Bogdan Malkowski

Department of Nuclear Medicine, The Franciszek Lukaszczyk Oncology Centre, Bydgoszcz.