Aims: In selected patients with colorectal liver metastases, hepatic resection offers an opportunity for cure, with a 25-38% 5-year survival rate. The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate whether patient selection could be improved with pre-operative whole-body 18-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) scan.
Methods: Ninety-one consecutive patients were considered to be eligible for liver resection after investigation with conventional diagnostic methods (CDM). In all these patients a whole-body PET scan with FDG was performed prior to surgery. Follow-up was complete with a mean of 23 months (2 weeks-92 months). All PET images were reviewed blinded to intraoperative and follow-up data.
Results: PET confirmed liver metastases in 90 (99%) patients, while it provided additional information in 10 (11%) patients, i.e., seven intra-abdominal, and three extra-abdominal. PET falsely upstaged six (6.6%) patients in whom malignancy was excluded by additional investigation, at the time of surgery, or during follow-up. PET falsely understaged seven (7.7%) patients with small intra-abdominal lesions.
Conclusion: In patients with potentially curable colorectal liver metastases according to conventional diagnostic methods, whole-body FDG-PET can be considered as a complementary examination in order to further select patients for potentially curative liver resection, and to optimize therapeutic strategy.