Objective: To determine the value of fluorine-18-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) for the detection of recurrent pancreatic cancer in comparison to computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Methods: Thirty-one patients with suspected recurrence after surgery were included. Inclusion criteria were sudden weight loss, pain or increased CA 19-9 levels. FDG-PET was performed in all patients. After visual analysis, maximal standardized uptake values (SUVmax) were determined by placing regions of interest on the pancreas bed. Additionally, all patients underwent contrast-enhanced multidetector CT (n = 14) or MR (n = 17) imaging. Positive findings at FDG-PET or CT/MRI were compared to follow-up.
Results: All patients relapsed. Of 25 patients with local recurrences upon follow-up, initial imaging suggested relapse in 23 patients. Of these, FDG-PET detected 96% (22/23) and CT/MRI 39% (9/23). Local SUVmax ranged from 2.26 to 16.9 (mean, 6.06). Among 12 liver metastases, FDG-PET detected 42% (5/12). CT/MRI detected 92% (11/12) correctly. Moreover, 7/9 abdominal lesions were malignant upon follow-up of which FDG-PET detected 7/7 and CT/MR detected none. Additionally, FDG-PET detected extra-abdominal metastases in 2 patients.
Conclusion: In patients suspected of pancreatic cancer relapse; FDG-PET reliably detected local recurrences, whereas CT/MRI was more sensitive for the detection of hepatic metastases. Furthermore, FDG-PET proved to be advantageous for the detection of nonlocoregional and extra-abdominal recurrences.