Monitoring and predicting response to therapy with 18F-FDG PET in colorectal cancer: a systematic review

L. de Geus-Oei, D. Vriens, H. van Laarhoven, W. van der Graaf and W. Oyen

Department of Nuclear Medicine, Radboud University, Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
May, 2009



Molecular imaging with (18)F-FDG PET has been proven useful in the management of colorectal cancer. (18)F-FDG PET plays a pivotal role in staging before surgical resection of recurrent colorectal cancer and metastases, in the localization of recurrence in patients with an unexplained rise in serum carcinoembryonic antigen levels, and in the assessment of residual masses after treatment. Currently, there is increasing interest in the role of (18)F-FDG PET beyond staging. The technique appears to have significant potential for the characterization of tumors and for the prediction of prognosis in the context of treatment stratification and early assessment of tumor response to therapy. This systematic review provides an overview of the literature on the value of (18)F-FDG PET for monitoring and predicting the response to therapy in colorectal cancer. The review covers chemotherapy response monitoring in advanced colorectal cancer, monitoring of the effects of local ablative therapies, and preoperative radiotherapy and multimodality treatment response evaluation in primary rectal cancer. Given the added value of (18)F-FDG PET for these indications, implementation in clinical practice and systematic inclusion in therapeutic trials to exploit the potential of (18)F-FDG PET are warranted.