FDG-PET/CT imaging for staging and target volume delineation in conformal radiotherapy of anal carcinoma

Marco Krengli, Maria E Milia, Lucia Turri, Eleonora Mones, Maria C Bassi, Barbara Cannillo, Letizia Deantonio, Gianmauro Sacchetti, Marco Brambilla, Eugenio Inglese
Radiation Oncology 2010, 5: 10

BACKGROUND: FDG-PET/CT imaging has an emerging role in staging and treatment planning of various tumor locations and a number of literature studies show that also the carcinoma of the anal canal may benefit from this diagnostic approach. We analyzed the potential impact of FDG-PET/CT in stage definition and target volume delineation of patients affected by carcinoma of the anal canal and candidates for curative radiotherapy.

METHODS: Twenty seven patients with biopsy proven anal carcinoma were enrolled. Pathology was squamous cell carcinoma in 20 cases, cloacogenic carcinoma in 3, adenocarcinoma in 2, and basal cell carcinoma in 2. Simulation was performed by PET/CT imaging with patient in treatment position. Gross Tumor Volume (GTV) and Clinical Target Volume (CTV) were drawn on CT and on PET/CT fused images. PET-GTV and PET-CTV were respectively compared to CT-GTV and CT-CTV by Wilcoxon rank test for paired data.

RESULTS: PET/CT fused images led to change the stage in 5/27 cases (18.5%): 3 cases from N0 to N2 and 2 from M0 to M1 leading to change the treatment intent from curative to palliative in a case.Based on PET/CT imaging, GTV and CTV contours changed in 15/27 (55.6%) and in 10/27 cases (37.0%) respectively. PET-GTV and PET-CTV resulted significantly smaller than CT-GTV (p = 1.2 x 10(-4)) and CT-CTV (p = 2.9 x 10(-4)). PET/CT-GTV and PET/CT-CTV, that were used for clinical purposes, were significantly greater than CT-GTV (p = 6 x 10(-5)) and CT-CTV (p = 6 x 10(-5)).

CONCLUSIONS: FDG-PET/CT has a potential relevant impact in staging and target volume delineation of the carcinoma of the anal canal. Clinical stage variation occurred in 18.5% of cases with change of treatment intent in 3.7%. The GTV and the CTV changed in shape and in size based on PET/CT imaging.

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