BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Hallmarks of vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques are inflammation that can be assessed with 18fluorine-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography, and increased neovascularization that can be evaluated by dynamic contrast-enhanced-MRI. It remains unclear whether these parameters are correlated or represent independent imaging parameters. This study determines whether there is a correlation between inflammation and neovascularization in atherosclerotic carotid plaques. METHODS: A total of 58 patients with transient ischemic attack or minor stroke in the carotid territory and ipsilateral carotid artery stenosis of 30% to 69% were included. All patients underwent positron emission tomography/computed tomography and dynamic contrast-enhanced-MRI of the carotid plaque. 18Fluorine-fluorodeoxyglucose standard uptake values with target/background ratio were determined. Neovascularization was quantified by the mean (leakage) volume transfer constant Ktrans. Spearman rank correlation coefficients between target/background ratio and Ktrans were calculated. RESULTS: Images suitable for further analysis were obtained in 49 patients. A weak but significant positive correlation between target/background ratio and mean Ktrans (Spearman rho=0.30 [P=0.035]) and 75th percentile Ktrans (Spearman rho=0.29 [P=0.041]) was found. CONCLUSIONS: There is a weak but significant positive correlation between inflammation on positron emission tomography/computed tomography and neovascularization as assessed with dynamic contrast-enhanced-MRI. Future studies should investigate which imaging modality has the highest predictive value for recurrent stroke, as these are not interchangeable. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT00451529.
Truijman, M. T., Kwee, R. M., van Hoof, R. H., Hermeling, E., van Oostenbrugge, R. J., Mess, W. H., Backes, W. H., Daemen, M. J., Bucerius, J., Wildberger, J. E., & Kooi, M. E. (2013). Combined 18F-FDG PET-CT and DCE-MRI to Assess Inflammation and Microvascularization in Atherosclerotic Plaques. Stroke, 44(12), 3568-3570. https://doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.113.003140