FDG-PET/CT imaging for staging and radiotherapy treatment planning of head and neck carcinoma

Radiat Oncol. 2008 Sep 18:3:29. doi: 10.1186/1748-717X-3-29.


Background: Positron emission tomography (PET) has a potential improvement for staging and radiation treatment planning of various tumor sites. We analyzed the use of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-PET/computed tomography (CT) images for staging and target volume delineation of patients with head and neck carcinoma candidates for radiotherapy.

Methods: Twenty-two patients candidates for primary radiotherapy, who did not receive any curative surgery, underwent both CT and PET/CT simulation. Gross Tumor Volume (GTV) was contoured on CT (CT-GTV), PET (PET-GTV), and PET/CT images (PET/CT-GTV). The resulting volumes were analyzed and compared.

Results: Based on PET/CT, changes in TNM categories and clinical stage occurred in 5/22 cases (22%). The difference between CT-GTV and PET-GTV was not statistically significant (p = 0.2) whereas the difference between the composite volume (PET/CT-GTV) and CT-GTV was statistically significant (p < 0.0001).

Conclusion: PET/CT fusion images could have a potential impact on both tumor staging and treatment planning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma / radiotherapy*
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18 / pharmacology*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / pharmacology*
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18