Pretreatment [18F]-fluoro-2-deoxy-glucose positron emission tomography maximum standardized uptake value as predictor of distant metastasis in early-stage non-small cell lung cancer treated with definitive radiation therapy: rethinking the role of positron emission tomography in personalizing treatment based on risk status

Vimoj J Nair, Robert MacRae, Abby Sirisegaram, Jason R Pantarotto
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 2014 February 1, 88 (2): 312-8

PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to determine whether the preradiation maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) of the primary tumor for [(18)F]-fluoro-2-deoxy-glucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) has a prognostic significance in patients with Stage T1 or T2N0 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with curative radiation therapy, whether conventional or stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT).

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Between January 2007 and December 2011, a total of 163 patients (180 tumors) with medically inoperable histologically proven Stage T1 or T2N0 NSCLC and treated with radiation therapy (both conventional and SBRT) were entered in a research ethics board approved database. All patients received pretreatment FDG-PET / computed tomography (CT) at 1 institution with consistent acquisition technique. The medical records and radiologic images of these patients were analyzed.

RESULTS: The overall survival at 2 years and 3 years for the whole group was 76% and 67%, respectively. The mean and median SUVmax were 8.1 and 7, respectively. Progression-free survival at 2 years with SUVmax <7 was better than that of the patients with tumor SUVmax ≥7 (67% vs 51%; P=.0096). Tumors with SUVmax ≥7 were associated with a worse regional recurrence-free survival and distant metastasis-free survival. In the multivariate analysis, SUVmax ≥7 was an independent prognostic factor for distant metastasis-free survival.

CONCLUSION: In early-stage NSCLC managed with radiation alone, patients with SUVmax ≥7 on FDG-PET / CT scan have poorer outcomes and high risk of progression, possibly because of aggressive biology. There is a potential role for adjuvant therapies for these high-risk patients with intent to improve outcomes.

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