JOURNAL ARTICLE

¹⁸F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography as an effective diagnostic workup in cervical metastasis of carcinoma from an unknown primary tumor

Kui Zhao, Xing-Mei Luo, Shui-Hong Zhou, Jian-Hua Liu, Sen-Xiang Yan, Zhong-Jie Lu, Shu-Ye Yang, Li-Li Lin, Meng-Jie Dong
Cancer Biotherapy & Radiopharmaceuticals 2012, 27 (10): 685-93
22834634

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to assess the potential of ¹⁸F-fluorodeoxyglucose (¹⁸FDG) positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) imaging for the diagnosis of cervical metastasis of carcinoma of an unknown primary tumor (CUP) and to determine whether the maximum standardized uptake value (SUV(max)) is a prognostic factor.

METHODS: Twenty-five consecutive patients with cervical metastasis of CUP were retrospectively analyzed by PET/CT between July 2007 and July 2011.

RESULTS: FDG PET/CT suggested a primary tumor in 21 out of 25 patients (84.0%). The sensitivity of FDG PET/CT in detecting the primary tumor was 73.3% (11 of 15), and the positive predictive value was 52.4% (11 of 21). The median follow-up duration of survival patients was 10.4 months (range: 0-30 months). The estimated 2-year overall survival rate of all patients was 50.0%. Univariate analyses did not reveal a significant difference in overall survival between the group of 11 patients identified by pathology and the 14 patients not identified by pathology (overall survival was 57.1% and 49.1%, respectively; p=0.468). The median SUV(max) was 7.6. In the log-rank test, patients with a low SUV(max) (≤ 7.0) in cervical lymph nodes had a significantly higher survival rate at 2 years (87.5% vs. 21.2%; p=0.007) than patients with a high SUV(max) (>7.0).

CONCLUSIONS: Although our study was inconclusive due to the small sample size, our results suggest that FDG PET/CT may be an effective diagnostic workup in the cervical metastasis of carcinoma from an unknown primary tumor (UPT). In the present study, SUV(max) of PET/CT in the cervical lymph node may serve as a prognostic factor of cervical metastasis of carcinoma from a UPT based on the limited number of patients. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings.

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