Can FDG PET predict radiation treatment outcome in head and neck cancer Results of a prospective studyReport as inadecuate

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European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

, Volume 38, Issue 8, pp 1449–1458

First Online: 02 April 2011Received: 13 December 2010Accepted: 02 March 2011


PurposeIn head and neck cancer HNC various treatment strategies have been developed to improve outcome, but selecting patients for these intensified treatments remains difficult. Therefore, identification of novel pretreatment assays to predict outcome is of interest. In HNC there are indications that pretreatment tumour F-fluorodeoxyglucose FDG uptake may be an independent prognostic factor. The aim of this study was to assess the prognostic value of FDG uptake and CT-based and FDG PET-based primary tumour volume measurements in patients with HNC treated with chemoradiotherapy.

MethodsA total of 77 patients with stage II–IV HNC who were eligible for definitive chemoradiotherapy underwent coregistered pretreatment CT and FDG PET. The gross tumour volume of the primary tumour was determined on the CT GTVCT and FDG PET scans. Five PET segmentation methods were applied: interpreting FDG PET visually PETVIS, applying an isocontour at a standardized uptake value SUV of 2.5 PET2.5, using fixed thresholds of 40% and 50% PET40%, PET50% of the maximum intratumoral FDG activity SUVMAX and applying an adaptive threshold based on the signal-to-background PETSBR. Mean FDG uptake for each PET-based volume was recorded SUVmean. Subsequently, to determine the metabolic volume, the integrated SUV was calculated as the product of PET-based volume and SUVmean. All these variables were analysed as potential predictors of local control LC, regional recurrence-free survival RRFS, distant metastasis-free survival DMFS, disease-free survival DFS and overall survival OS.

ResultsIn oral cavity-oropharynx tumours PETVIS was the only volume-based method able to predict LC. Both PETVIS and GTVCT were able to predict DMFS, DFS and OS in these subsites. Integrated SUVs were associated with LC, DMFS, DFS and OS, while SUVmean and SUVMAX were not. In hypopharyngeal-laryngeal tumours none of the variables was associated with outcome.

ConclusionThere is no role yet for pretreatment FDG PET as a predictor of chemoradiotherapy outcome in HNC in daily routine. However, this potential application needs further exploration, focusing both on FDG PET-based primary tumour volume, integrated SUV and SUVMAX of the primary tumour.

KeywordsHead and neck cancer FDG PET scan Target volume delineation Radiation treatment outcome Functional imaging  Download fulltext PDF

Author: Dominic A. X. Schinagl - Paul N. Span - Wim J. Oyen - Johannes H. A. M. Kaanders


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