Predictive and prognostic value of FDG-PET

L. Geus-Oei and W. Oyen

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



The predictive and prognostic value of fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-positron emission tomography (PET) in non-small-cell lung carcinoma, colorectal carcinoma and lymphoma is discussed. The degree of FDG uptake is of prognostic value at initial presentation, after induction treatment prior to resection and in the case of relapse of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In locally advanced and advanced stages of NSCLC, FDG-PET has been shown to be predictive for clinical outcome at an early stage of treatment. In colorectal carcinoma, limited studies are available on the prognostic value of FDG-PET, however, the technique appears to have great potential in monitoring the success of local ablative therapies soon after intervention and in the prediction and evaluation of response to radiotherapy, systemic therapy, and combinations thereof. The prognostic value of end-of treatment FDG-PET for FDG-avid lymphomas has been established, and the next step is to define how to use this information to optimize patient outcome. In Hodgkin's lymphoma, FDG-PET has a high negative predictive value, however, histological confirmation of positive findings should be sought where possible. For non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the opposite applies. The newly published standardized guidelines for interpretation formulates specific criteria for visual interpretation and for defining PET positivity in the liver, spleen, lung, bone marrow and small residual lesions. The introduction of these guidelines should reduce variability among studies. Interim PET offers a reliable method for early prediction of long-term remission, however it should only be performed in prospective randomized controlled trials. Many of the diagnostic and management questions considered in this review are relevant to other tumour types. Further research in this field is of great importance, since it may lead to a change in the therapeutic concept of cancer. The preliminary findings call for systematic inclusion of FDG-PET in therapeutic trials to adequately position FDG-PET in treatment time lines.