Coordination and optimization of FDG PET/CT and COVID-19 vaccination; Lessons learned in the early stages of mass vaccination

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Radiology; Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology Oncology; Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology

Publication Date


Document Type



Diagnosis | Hemic and Lymphatic Diseases | Infectious Disease | Neoplasms | Oncology | Public Health | Radiology | Virus Diseases


As the world embarks on mass vaccination for COVID-19, we are beginning to encounter unintended dilemmas in imaging oncology patients; particularly with regards to FDG PET/CT. In some cases, vaccine-related lymphadenopathy and FDG uptake on PET/CT can mimic cancer and lead to confounding imaging results. These cases with findings overlapping with cancer pose a significant dilemma for diagnostic purposes, follow-up, and management leading to possible treatment delays, unnecessary repeat imaging and sampling, and patient anxiety. These cases can largely be avoided by optimal coordination between vaccination and planned imaging as well as preemptive selection of vaccine administration site. This coordination hinges on patient, oncologist, and radiologists’ awareness of this issue and collaboration. Through close communication and patient education, we believe this will eliminate significant challenges for our oncology patients as we strive to end this pandemic.


Oncologic imaging, COVID-19 vaccine, vaccination, cancer, FDG PET/CT

DOI of Published Version



McIntosh LJ, Rosen MP, Mittal K, Whalen GF, Bathini VG, Ali T, Edmiston KL, Walsh WV, Gerber JM. Coordination and optimization of PET/CT and COVID-19 vaccination; Lessons learned in the early stages of mass vaccination. Cancer Treatment Reviews. 2021 May 11.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Cancer Treatment Reviews

PubMed ID