Background: To compare computed tomography (CT) with co-registered positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) as the basis for delineating gross tumor volume (GTV) in unresectable, locally advanced pancreatic carcinoma (LAPC).
Methods: Fourteen patients with unresectable LAPC had both CT and PET images acquired. For each patient, two three-dimensional conformal plans were made using the CT and PET-CT fusion data sets. We analyzed differences in treatment plans and doses of radiation to primary tumors and critical organs.
Results: Changes in GTV delineation were necessary in 5 patients based on PET-CT information. In these patients, the average increase in GTV was 29.7%, due to the incorporation of additional lymph node metastases and extension of the primary tumor beyond that defined by CT. For all patients, the GTVCT versus GTVPET-CT was 92.5 +/- 32.3 cm3 versus 104.5 +/- 32.6 cm3 (p = 0.009). Toxicity analysis revealed no clinically significant differences between two plans with regard to doses to critical organs.
Conclusion: Co-registration of PET and CT information in unresectable LAPC may improve the delineation of GTV and theoretically reduce the likelihood of geographic misses.