Elevated 18F-NaF uptake in cricoid cartilage in a patient with laryngeal carcinoma: A case report and literature review

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Laryngeal cancer is aggressive tumor that arises from the tissues of the larynx. Although any bone can be affected, involvement of cricoid cartilage was reported very rarely, and there has been no report of 18F-sodium fluoride positron emission tomography-computed tomography (18F-NaF PET-CT) and 3D PET-CT for the evaluation of cricoid cartilage invasion.

Patient concerns:

A 54-year-old male discovered a protruding mass in the right anterior neck, which had rapidly increased in size over a period of 2 months. Subsequently, hoarseness, dysphagia, and dyspnea were gradually developed.


18F-FDG PET-CT demonstrated that the abnormal activity was located in a soft tissue mass, which was about 4.2 cm × 3.8 cm × 3.6 cm in largest dimension in the laryngeal cavity of supraglottic portion (SUVmax: 23.6). A swollen lymph node was revealed in the right submandibular region, which had intense FDG activity with a SUVmax of 18.4. However, there is a high uptake of 18F-FDG in the region near the bone, which is uncertain whether there is any skeletal invasion. NaF PET-CT and 3D PET-CT demonstrated increased uptake in the right side of cricoid cartilage (SUVmax: 13.2). The histopathologic examination confirmed squamous cell carcinoma of larynx.


The patient underwent tracheotomy and received anti-infective treatment to relieve symptoms of dyspnea and prevent asphyxia.


Clinical follow up of the patient revealed that dyspnea was significantly relieved.


The case report shows the imaging features of cricoid cartilage invasion, including 18F-FDG PET/CT, 18F-sodium fluoride positron emission tomography-computed tomography (18F-NaF PET-CT), and 3D PET-CT. Precise understanding of the invasion scope, accurately staging of laryngeal carcinoma, and choosing of the most suitable surgical scheme are the factors that lead to the optimal treatment of laryngeal neoplasms.

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