Introduction: Few validated prognostic factors are available for survival in patients with lung cancer. [F]-fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose positron emission tomography has been shown to be of additional value to conventional imaging for staging lung cancer. The prognostic value of this lung tumor metabolic activity was studied in a first systematic review of studies published until 2006.
Methods: As further studies have appeared since 2006, this report has as objective to confirm and to estimate with less variability the prognostic value of primary tumor standardized uptake value (SUV) measured with [F]-fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose positron emission tomography on the basis of an updated search of eligible studies.
Results: Ten additional studies were eligible for the updated review and eight of them provided, in the publication, data allowing survival results aggregation. All together, 21 studies were analyzed. Comparing patients with low and high SUV, using preferentially the median SUV value of each study as threshold, we obtained a poor prognostic value for high SUV compared with low SUV with an overall combined hazard ratio of 2.08, significantly different from one with a 95% confidence interval ranging from 1.69 to 2.56. No interaction between older and newer studies was detectable (P = 0.60) as well as between studies having selected non metastatic patients or studies without selection criterion related to stage (P = 0.46).
Conclusions: We confirmed the results of our previous review showing that SUV is potentially a very interesting factor for predicting patient outcome. We believe that a meta-analysis based on individual patient data would be of great value as allowing to assess the independent prognostic value, to take into account some factors responsible for heterogeneity between studies (SUV assessment method, disease stage, and histology), and to update survival data. We are planning to conduct such a meta-analysis on behalf of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Staging Project.