Prognostic Significance of Metabolic Parameters by 18F-FDG PET/CT in Thymic Epithelial Tumors

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Feb 9;13(4):712. doi: 10.3390/cancers13040712.


Background: Imaging tumor FDG avidity could complement prognostic implication in thymic epithelial tumors. We thus investigated the prognostic value of volume-based 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) positron emission tomography (PET)/CT parameters in thymic epithelial tumors with other clinical prognostic factors.

Methods: This is a retrospective study that included 83 patients who were diagnosed with thymic epithelial tumors and underwent pretreatment 18F-FDG PET/CT. PET parameters, including maximum and average standardized uptake values (SUVmax, SUVavg), metabolic tumor volume (MTV), and total lesion glycolysis (TLG), were measured with a threshold of SUV 2.5. Univariate and multivariate analysis of PET parameters and clinicopathologic variables for time-to-progression was performed by using a Cox proportional hazard regression model.

Results: There were 21 low-risk thymomas (25.3%), 27 high-risk thymomas (32.5%), and 35 thymic carcinomas (42.2%). Recurrence or disease progression occurred in 24 patients (28.9%). On univariate analysis, Masaoka stage (p < 0.001); histologic types (p = 0.009); treatment modality (p = 0.001); and SUVmax, SUVavg, MTV, and TLG (all p < 0.001) were significant prognostic factors. SUVavg (p < 0.001) and Masaoka stage (p = 0.001) were independent prognostic factors on multivariate analysis.

Conclusion: SUVavg and Masaoka stage are independent prognostic factors in thymic epithelial tumors.

Keywords: 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose; PET/CT; prognosis; standardized uptake value; thymic epithelial tumor.