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Prognostic value of fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose positron-emission tomography imaging in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma




High tumor uptake of fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) is associated with an unfavorable outcome in patients with cancer. We evaluated FDG uptake as a prognostic factor in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.


Maximum standardized uptake values (SUVmax) of tumor, liver, and pulmonary artery were recorded. Ratios of SUVmax from tumor to liver (T/L) and from tumor to pulmonary artery (T/PA) were calculated for each patient. Clinical data, tumor, and SUVmax ratios were compared with disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS).


Eighty-nine patients were included: 48 presented a local recurrent disease or distant metastases and 42 died. For both DFS and OS, tumor SUVmax value of 7 was the best cutoff value and 4 and 5 for T/L and T/PA ratios. Multivariate analysis confirmed the independent prognostic value of these 3 thresholds for DFS and OS.


FDG uptake has a significant and independent relationship with recurrence and survival. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2012