JOURNAL ARTICLE

Ineffectiveness of ¹⁸F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography in the evaluation of tumor response after completion of neoadjuvant chemoradiation in esophageal cancer

Guillaume Piessen, Grégory Petyt, Alain Duhamel, Xavier Mirabel, Damien Huglo, Christophe Mariette
Annals of Surgery 2013, 258 (1): 66-76
23470576

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the role of ¹⁸F-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) in the assessment of tumor response after the completion of neoadjuvant chemoradiation (CRT) in patients with locally advanced resectable esophageal cancer.

BACKGROUND: After primary CRT, a noninvasive evaluation of the tumor response could help in the treatment decision to identify patients who may benefit from surgery. Whether FDG-PET provides clinically relevant information remains questionable.

METHODS: Operable patients with locally advanced esophageal cancer (clinically staged T3 N0-1 M0) were enrolled in this prospective study. The complete treatment plan included neoadjuvant CRT (cisplatin + 5-fluorouracil/45 Gy) followed 6 to 8 weeks later by a transthoracic en bloc esophagectomy. Morphological evaluation combined with FDG-PET was performed 2 weeks before the start of CRT and 4 to 6 weeks after the completion of CRT. Intratumoral pre- and posttreatment FDG-standardized uptake values (SUV1, SUV2, percentage change) were assessed. These variables were correlated with pathological and morphologic responses and survival. Investigators were blinded to the FDG-PET results unless they revealed metastatic disease.

RESULTS: Of 60 total patients, 46 underwent the complete treatment plan (median age: 60.1 years; adenocarcinoma: 25 patients; squamous cell cancer: 21 patients). A major pathological response occurred in 45.7% of patients and was associated with a favorable outcome (P = 0.057). Neoadjuvant CRT led to a significant reduction in intratumoral FDG-uptake (P < 0.001). No significant association was seen between a pathological response (either complete or major) and the FDG-PET results (P > 0.280). The SUV2 value was correlated with a morphological response and the possibility to perform an R0 resection (P < 0.018; receiver operating characteristic curve analysis: SUV2 threshold = 5.5). No significant association was found between metabolic imaging and recurrence or survival.

CONCLUSIONS: FDG-PET does not effectively correlate with pathological response and long-term survival in patients with locally advanced esophageal cancer undergoing neoadjuvant CRT followed by surgery. (Registered on the www.e-cancer RECF0350.).

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