F-18 FDG perfusion PET: intraprocedural assessment of the liver tumor ablation margin

Abdom Radiol (NY). 2021 Jul;46(7):3437-3447. doi: 10.1007/s00261-021-02970-8. Epub 2021 Feb 19.


Purpose: To evaluate 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) perfusion PET during FDG PET/CT-guided liver tumor microwave ablation procedures for assessing the ablation margin and correlating minimum margin measurements with local progression.

Methods: This IRB-approved, HIPAA-compliant study included 20 adult patients (11 M, 9 F; mean age 65) undergoing FDG PET/CT-guided liver microwave ablation to treat 31 FDG-avid tumors. Intraprocedural FDG perfusion PET was performed to assess the ablation margin. Intraprocedural decisions regarding overlapping ablations were recorded. Two readers retrospectively interpreted intraprocedural perfusion PET and postprocedural contrast-enhanced MRI. Assessability of the ablation margin and minimum margin measurements were recorded. Imaging follow-up for local progression ranged from 30 to 574 days (mean 310). Regression modeling of minimum margin measurements was performed. Hazard ratios were calculated to correlate an ablation margin threshold of 5 mm with outcomes.

Results: Intraprocedural perfusion PET prompted additional overlapping ablations of two tumors, neither of which progressed. Incomplete ablation or local progression occurred in 8/31 (26%) tumors. With repeat ablation, secondary efficacy was 26 (84%) of 31. Both study readers deemed ablation margins fully assessable more often using perfusion PET than MRI (OR 69.7; CI 6.0, 806.6; p = 0.001). Minimum ablation margins ≥ 5 mm on perfusion PET correlated with a low risk of incomplete ablation/local progression by both study readers (HR 0.08 and 0.02, p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Intraprocedural FDG perfusion PET consistently enabled complete liver tumor microwave ablation margin assessments, and the perfusion PET minimum ablation margin measurements correlated well with local outcomes. Clinical trial registration clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02018107).

Keywords: Ablation techniques; Liver neoplasms; Positron emission tomography.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Perfusion
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02018107