FDG-PET status following chemoradiotherapy provides high management impact and powerful prognostic stratification in oesophageal cancer

Cuong P Duong, Rodney J Hicks, Leann Weih, Elizabeth Drummond, Trevor Leong, Michael Michael, Robert J S Thomas
European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2006, 33 (7): 770-8

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of FDG-PET following chemoradiotherapy (CRT) on treatment planning and survival in patients with oesophageal cancer (OC).

METHODS: Fifty-three consecutive OC patients had a post-treatment PET scan to evaluate tumour response to CRT prior to possible surgery. Baseline pre-CRT PET was performed in 33 patients. Prospectively recorded post-CRT management plans were compared with post-PET treatment. High impact was defined as a change in treatment intent or modality. Survival was analysed using the Kaplan-Meier product limit method and Cox proportional hazards regression model.

RESULTS: After completion of CRT, 23/53 patients (43%) achieved complete metabolic response (CMR), as compared with only four (8%) with complete response on computed tomography. High PET impact was observed in 19 patients (36%). CMR was strongly predictive of survival (p<0.008) on multivariate analysis. CMR patients in whom resection was not performed had comparable survival to those (CMR and non-CMR) who underwent resection.

CONCLUSION: The use of post-treatment FDG-PET for assessment of tumour response after CRT changed the clinical management of more than one-third of OC patients. CMR status as assessed by PET powerfully stratified prognosis. Even in the absence of a baseline study, normalisation of uptake at all sites of known tumoral involvement carries a good medium-term prognosis.

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