Clinical Utility of FDG-PET in Detecting Head and Neck Tumors. A Comparison of Diagnostic Methods and Modalities

Clin Positron Imaging. 2000 Jan;3(1):7-16. doi: 10.1016/s1095-0397(99)00112-0.


Positron emission tomography (PET) using F-18-fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose(F-18-FDG) is gaining acceptance as a useful imaging method for head and neck tumors. Results of 59 PET scans done on 45 patients with head and neck tumors were evaluated retrospectively. Thirty-six patients had prior treatment consisting of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these modalities. PET results were compared to computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging results and validated by histologic findings or survival. PET identified 36 out of 37 tumors (sensitivity 97%) and 18 of 22 benign processes (specificity 82%). Tumor was ruled out in 18 out of 19 patients. For CT, the sensitivity was 80% (20/25) and specificity was 31% (4/13). FDG-PET facilitates differentiation of recurrent head and neck tumors from treatment related changes sometimes difficult to characterize by CT or MRI and may have a significant impact on the management of patients reducing morbidity and costs.