Brown adipose tissue (BAT) has thermogenic potential. For its activation, cold exposure is considered a critical factor though other determinants have also been reported. The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between neoplastic status and BAT activity by 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-D-glucose (18F-FDG) positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) in people living in the tropics, where the influence of outdoor temperature was low.
18F-FDG PET/CT scans were reviewed and the total metabolic activity (TMA) of identified activated BAT quantified. The distribution and TMA of activated BAT were compared between patients with and without a cancer history. The neoplastic status of patients was scored according to their cancer history and 18F-FDG PET/CT findings. We evaluated the relationships between the TMA of BAT and neoplastic status along with other factors: age, body mass index, fasting blood sugar, gender, and outdoor temperature.
Thirty of 1740 patients had activated BAT. Those with a cancer history had wider BAT distribution (p = 0.043) and a higher TMA (p = 0.028) than those without. A higher neoplastic status score was associated with a higher average TMA. Multivariate analyses showed that neoplastic status was the only factor significantly associated with the TMA of activated BAT (p = 0.016).
Neoplastic status is a critical determinant of BAT activity in patients living in the tropics. More active neoplastic status was associated with more vigorous TMA of BAT.