Post-treatment (18)F-FDG PET/CT for predicting survival and recurrence in patients with advanced-stage head and neck cancer undergoing curative surgery

Head and Neck Cancer

Jung AR, et al. Oral Oncol 2020.


OBJECTIVES: Pre- and post-treatment 18F-FDG PET/CT may have a prognostic role in human cancers. 18F-FDG PET/CT after primary surgery for head and neck cancer might also predict survival. Therefore, we evaluated the prognostic value of post-treatment 18F-FDG PET/CT in primary surgical patients with advanced-stage head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This prospective study involved 225 patients with previously untreated advanced-stage HNSCC who underwent primary surgery with or without postoperative radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy. The patients also had 18F-FDG PET/CT scanning at a median 6 months after surgery. Post-treatment 18F-FDG PET/CT was considered positive, based on interpretation by experienced nuclear medicine physicians with integrating clinical information. Positive and negative predictive values (PPV and NPV) for positive 18F-FDG PET/CT in association with recurrence were calculated. Predictors for positive post-treatment 18F-FDG PET/CT were evaluated using binary logistic regression. Survival analysis was performed using Cox proportional hazard regression analysis.

RESULTS: PPV and NPV for post-treatment PET/CT for overall recurrence were 75.8% and 98.7%, respectively. A positive post-treatment PET/CT was an independent predictive factor for overall and disease-free survival (both P < 0.001). Five-year overall survival rates for patients with positive and negative PET/CT were 48.1% and 92.3%, respectively. Corresponding 5-year disease-free survival rates were 22.5% and 82.4%, respectively. Perineural invasion, positive resection margin, positive pathological node, and extranodal extension were the independent predictors of positive 18F-FDG PET/CT (all P < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Post-treatment 18F-FDG PET/CT predicts survival and recurrence in patients undergoing curative surgery for advanced-stage HNSCC.