Pulmonology Heros: First Biomarker for Lung Fibrosis

Pulmonology Heros, a new digest that sifts through the latest news and curates information specifically for pulmonologists, highlighted the first biomarker for lung fibrosis from a European Journal of Radiology study that we are excited to share with you. 


To evaluate the role of Fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) PET/CT as a metabolic guide in increasing the accuracy, diagnostic yield and safety of CT-guided percutaneous needle lung biopsy (PNB).

Methods and Materials

Retrospective analysis of 340 consecutive patients with suspicious lung nodules, masses or extensive disease that underwent lung biopsy over a 3-year period. Patients were divided into three groups; those that had PET/CT prior to the biopsy, those that had PET-CT following the biopsy and those who did not undergo PET-CT. Correlation was made with the histopathological result.


353 PNBs were performed (median lesion size 30 mm, 7–120 mm) with overall diagnostic rate of 83.9 % (95.8 % malignant). Biopsy success rate was 88.8 % with PET-CT pre-PNB, versus 78.9 % of 175 PNB without PET-CT upfront (p < 0.01 Fisher exact test). Correct targeting to PET-CT-maximum activity area (MAA) was present in 87.1 %. Biopsy success rate was 88.8 % for PNBs targeting the PET-CT-MAA region and only 52.8 % for PNBs not targeting the PET-CT-MAA (p < 0.0001). PET-CT pre-PNB had higher rates of PET-CT-MAA targeting compared to PET-CT post PNB (91.0 % v 80.0 %, p = 0.01). The availability of PET-CT before the PNB lead to significantly increased biopsy success rates in patients with a mass (OR:7.01p = 0.004), compared to a nodule (p = 0.498) or multiple nodules (p = 0.163). Patients with a PET-CT pre-PNB underwent fewer PNB passes (mean 2.6 v 3.1, p < 0.0001 Mann Whitney U). Serious complications were less common in PET-CT pre-PNB group (4.5 % v 10.9 %, p < 0.05). Pre-PNB PET-CT performance improvement applied to all 3 radiologists and was greatest for masses and infiltrative abnormalities.


Metabolic information provided by 18F-FDG PET/CT and PNB localisation to the PET-CT maximum activity region is associated with higher diagnostic biopsy rates especially in masses and appears to account for improved performance, less needle passes and complications when available pre-biopsy.

Read the full article here: 18F-FDG PET/CT anatomic and metabolic guidance in CT-guided lung biopsies

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The Association of Pulmonary Advanced Practice Providers (APAPP) works to advance the profession of APPs in Pulmonary Medicine. We actively seek out opportunities and educational articles to help educate our members and ourselves on news in our field, with the goal of providing improved patient care as well as provider experience. Have an article you would like to share? Email us at

This post was published by The APAPP staff on behalf of the author(s) – listed above.