Background and purpose: To evaluate whether FDG-PET performed for radiotherapy (RT) planning can detect disease progression, compared with staging PET.
Materials and methods: Twenty-six patients with newly-diagnosed non-small-cell lung cancer underwent planning PET-CT for curative RT within 8 weeks (mean: 33±14days) of staging PET-CT. Progressive disease (PD) was defined as >25% increase in tumour size (transaxial) or volume, as delineated by SUV threshold of 2.5, or new sites (SUV>2.5).
Results: The planning PET detected PD in 16 patients (61%), compared to four patients (15%) by CT component of PET-CT. The mean scan interval was longer in patients with progression: 40±12days, compared to 22±11days without progression. Planning PET detected PD in 13/17 (76%), 12/14 (86%) and 7/7 patients if the interval was ≥4, 5 and 6 weeks, respectively, compared with 3/9 patients if interval <4 weeks. Planning PET detected PD in primary metabolic volume in seven patients, 20 new nodal sites in 12 new nodal stations and nine patients, five extra-nodal sites in five patients. This resulted in upstaging in nine patients (35%): stage IIIA in three, IIIB in three and IV in three.
Conclusions: RT-planning FDG-PET can provide incremental diagnostic information and may impact on staging in a significant number of patients.
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