JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Surveillance FDG-PET detection of asymptomatic recurrences in patients with cervical cancer.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate survival after detection of recurrent cervical cancer by FDG-PET in symptomatic versus asymptomatic patients.

METHODS: This is a prospective registry study of 103 patients treated with definitive chemoradiation for advanced cervical cancer who demonstrated no abnormal FDG uptake (a complete metabolic response, CMR) on their 3-month posttherapy FDG-PET. Their median age was 48 years (range 26-84). The clinical stages were Ib in 38, IIa in 1, IIb in 39, and IIIb in 25. All patients underwent subsequent surveillance FDG-PET. Patients were grouped according to symptom status at the time of the surveillance FDG-PET. Recurrence sites and survival data were analyzed.

RESULTS: The median time from the 3-month posttherapy FDG-PET to the first surveillance FDG-PET was 13 months. 25 patients (25/103; 24%) were symptomatic at the time of surveillance FDG-PET and 21 of these had FDG-PET findings indicative of recurrence. 78 patients (78/103; 76%) were asymptomatic and 9 of these had tumor recurrence detected by PET. All recurrences were confirmed by biopsy or radiologic progression. The recurrences in the 21 symptomatic patients were loco regional in 4 and distant in 17. The 9 asymptomatic patients had isolated loco regional disease in 8 and distant disease in 1. All patients received treatment for recurrence. The three-year cause-specific survival for symptomatic recurrences was 19% versus 59% for asymptomatic recurrences (p=0.09).

CONCLUSIONS: Surveillance FDG-PET can detect asymptomatic recurrent disease that is potentially amenable to salvage therapy. Prospective investigation of surveillance PET is warranted.

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