Purpose: We prospectively investigated the feasibility of 3'-deoxy-3'-(18)F-fluorothymidine (FLT) positron emission tomography (PET) for the detection of gastric cancer, in comparison with 2-deoxy-2-(18)F-fluoro-D-glucose (FDG) PET, and determined the degree of correlation between the two radiotracers and proliferative activity as indicated by Ki-67 index.
Methods: A total of 21 patients with newly diagnosed advanced gastric cancer were examined with FLT PET and FDG PET. Tumour lesions were identified as areas of focally increased uptake, exceeding that of surrounding normal tissue. For semiquantitative analysis, the maximal standardized uptake value (SUV) was calculated.
Results: For detection of advanced gastric cancer, the sensitivities of FLT PET and FDG PET were 95.2% and 95.0%, respectively. The mean (+/-SD) SUV for FLT (7.0 +/- 3.3) was significantly lower than that for FDG (9.4 +/- 6.3 p < 0.05). The mean FLT SUV and FDG SUV in nonintestinal tumours were higher than in intestinal tumours, although the difference was not statistically significant. The mean (+/-SD) FLT SUV in poorly differentiated tumours (8.5 +/- 3.5) was significantly higher than that in well and moderately differentiated tumours (5.3 +/- 2.1; p < 0.04). The mean FDG SUV in poorly differentiated tumours was higher than in well and moderately differentiated tumours, although the difference was not statistically significant. There was no significant correlation between Ki-67 index and either FLT SUV or FDG SUV.
Conclusion: FLT PET showed as high a sensitivity as FDG PET for the detection of gastric cancer, although uptake of FLT in gastric cancer was significantly lower than that of FDG.