We previously showed that metabolic tumor volume (MTV) on positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) predicts for disease recurrence and death in head-and-neck cancer (HNC). We hypothesized that increases in MTV over time would correlate with tumor growth and biology, and would predict outcome. We sought to examine tumor growth over time in serial pretreatment PET-CT scans.From 2006 to 2009, 51 patients had two PET-CT scans before receiving HNC treatment. MTV was defined as the tumor volume = 50% of maximum SUV (SUV(max)). MTV was calculated for the primary tumor, nodal disease, and composite (primary tumor + nodes). MTV and SUV velocity were defined as the change in MTV or SUV(max) over time, respectively. Cox regression analyses were used to examine correlations between SUV, MTV velocity, and outcome (disease progression and overall survival).The median follow-up time was 17.5 months. The median time between PET-CT scans was 3 weeks. Unexpectedly, 51% of cases demonstrated a decrease in SUV(max) (average, -0.1 cc/week) and MTV (average, -0.3 cc/week) over time. Despite the variability in MTV, primary tumor MTV velocity predicted disease progression (hazard ratio 2.94; p = 0.01) and overall survival (hazard ratio 1.85; p = 0.03).Primary tumor MTV velocity appears to be a better prognostic indicator of disease progression and survival in comparison to nodal MTV velocity. However, substantial variability was found in PET-CT biomarkers between serial scans. Caution should be used when PET-CT biomarkers are integrated into clinical protocols for HNC.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2011.10.022
View details for PubMedID 22270168