[F-18] fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography as a tool for early recognition of incomplete tumor destruction after radiofrequency ablation for liver metastases

J Surg Oncol. 2003 Dec;84(4):215-23. doi: 10.1002/jso.10314.


Background and objectives: To assess the value of FDG positron emission tomography (PET) for early detection of incomplete tumor destruction after radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for liver metastasis.

Methods: Twenty-eight unresectable liver metastases in 17 patients were treated by RFA. Patients underwent computed tomography (CT) and FDG-PET preoperatively, at 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months postoperatively. Postoperative CT and FDG-PET at 1 week and 1 month were analyzed to identify hypervascular and hypermetabolic residual tumors at the RFA site. These results were correlated with follow-up CT and, in case of reintervention, with pathologic results.

Results: In 24/28 of RFA-treated metastases, CT and FDG-PET at 1 week and 1 month showed no tumor residues. During follow-up, none of these 13 patients developed local recurrence at RFA site. In four patients, FDG-PET at 1 week and 1 month showed peripheral hypermetabolic residue after RFA, whereas CT did not revealed residual tumor. In three patients, local persistence of viable tumor cells was biopsy-proven at reintervention. In the fourth, follow-up CT showed subsequent development of a local recurrence.

Conclusions: FDG-PET accurately monitors the local efficacy of RFA for treatment of liver metastases, as it early recognizes incomplete tumor ablation, not detectable on CT.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Catheter Ablation*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Hepatectomy
  • Humans
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / etiology
  • Postoperative Period
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiopharmaceuticals*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18