COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

[Clinical application of positron-emission tomography for the identification of cervical nodal metastases of head and neck cancer compared with CT or MRI and clinical palpation]

Zhong-Wei Chen, Li-Jun Zhu, Qing-Yi Hou, Qi-Peng Wang, Sui Jiang, Hang Feng
Zhonghua Kou Qiang Yi Xue za Zhi, Zhonghua Kouqiang Yixue Zazhi, Chinese Journal of Stomatology 2008, 43 (12): 705-8
19134342

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the value of positron-emission tomography (PET) for the identification of cervical nodal metastases of head and neck cancer compared with CT/MRI and clinical palpation.

METHODS: Forty patients of head and neck cancer underwent PET and CT/MRI examination 2 weeks before surgery. PET, CT/MRI and clinical palpation were interpreted separately to assess regional lymph node status. Histopathologic analysis was used as the gold standard for assessment of the lymph node involvement. Differences in sensitivity, specificity and accuracy among the imaging modalities and clinical palpation were analyzed.

RESULTS: The sensitivity of PET for the identification of nodal metastases was 14.3% higher than that of CT/MRI (P = 0.648) and 14.3% higher than that of clinical palpation (P = 0.648), whereas the specificity of PET was 15.4% higher than that of CT/MRI (P = 0.188) and 7.7% higher than that of clinical palpation (P = 0.482). The accuracy of 18F-FDG PET, CT/MRI, and clinical palpation for the identification of cervical nodal metastases was 85.0%, 70.0% and 75.0% respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: The sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of PET for the detection of cervical nodal metastases was higher than that of CT/MRI and clinical palpation. Although the results did not show a statistically significant difference, PET can still serve as a supplementary method for the identification of nodal metastases of head and neck cancer.

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