Positron emission tomography (11)C-methionine and survival in patients with low-grade gliomas

Cancer. 2001 Sep 15;92(6):1541-9. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(20010915)92:6<1541::aid-cncr1480>3.0.co;2-d.


Background: Considerable numbers of patients with low-grade gliomas experience an early malignant course and may benefit from aggressive treatment. These patients are difficult to identify using established prognostic factors. A retrospective study was performed to determine whether the (11)C-methionine uptake in tumor is a survival factor in adult patients with supratentorial gliomas classified as World Health Organization Grade 2.

Methods: The authors identified 89 patients with histologically confirmed low-grade gliomas in whom an (11)C-methionine positron emission tomography (PET) scan had been performed as part of the diagnostic tumor investigation from 1983 to 1998. Clinical data were collected, and the PET scans were re-evaluated according to a fixed protocol. The (11)C-methionine uptake in the tumor and relevant clinical parameters were entered into univariate and multivariate survival analyses.

Results: At the end of the study, 49 patients (55.1%) had died. The median overall survival was 5.7 years. Low methionine uptake was significantly favorable in the multivariate survival analysis (P = 0.04) along with oligodendroglioma (P = 0.003). In the histologic subgroups, (11)C-methionine uptake was an important survival factor among patients with astrocytomas (P = 0.05) and oligodendrogliomas (P = 0.03). Tumor resection was a favorable prognostic factor in patients with high methionine uptake (P = 0.01) but not in patients with low uptake.

Conclusions: Baseline (11)C-methionine PET is a prognostic indicator in patients with low-grade gliomas. The results imply that PET is a valuable tool in the clinical management of these patients and may assist in the selection of patients for therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Astrocytoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Astrocytoma / mortality
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Carbon Radioisotopes*
  • Female
  • Glioma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Glioma / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methionine*
  • Middle Aged
  • Oligodendroglioma / diagnostic imaging
  • Oligodendroglioma / mortality
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*


  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Methionine