Department of Surgery, University Medical Center Nijmegen, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
The aims of this prospective study were to investigate the potential role of fluorine-18-deoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) in determining the efficacy of the local tumor ablative process and to determine the added value of FDG-PET in the detection of tumor recurrence during follow-up.Twenty-three patients with unresectable colorectal liver metastases were followed up after local ablative therapy consisting of a standard protocol including FDG-PET scanning, computed tomography (CT) scanning, and carcinoembryonic antigen measurements. The mean follow-up period was 16 months (range, 10 to 21 months).Ninety-six lesions was treated, 56 by local ablative treatment. Within 3 weeks after local ablative treatment, 51 lesions became photopenic on FDG-PET, while five lesions (in five patients) showed persistent activity on FDG-PET. In four of five FDG-PET-positive lesions, a local recurrence developed during follow-up; one FDG-PET-positive lesion turned out to be an abscess. None of the FDG-PET-negative lesions developed a local recurrence during a mean follow-up period of 16 months. During follow-up, 11 patients showed recurrence in the liver outside of the treated area. In all cases, previously negative FDG-PET scans became positive. Extrahepatic recurrence was encountered in nine patients during follow-up; FDG-PET showed all nine cases of tumor recurrence. There was one false-positive FDG-PET caused by an intra-abdominal abscess. In all patients, the time point of detection of recurrence by FDG-PET was considerably earlier than the detection by CT.FDG-PET seems to have a significant impact in measuring treatment efficacy directly after local ablative therapy. Furthermore, FDG-PET has an added value in patient follow-up because it reveals recurrences earlier than conventional diagnostic modalities.