Metabolic tumor volume predicts long-term survival after transplantation for unresectable colorectal liver metastases: 15 years of experience from the SECA study

Ann Nucl Med. 2022 Dec;36(12):1073-1081. doi: 10.1007/s12149-022-01796-8. Epub 2022 Oct 14.


Objective: To report 15 years of experience with metabolic tumor volume (MTV) of liver metastases from the preoperative 18F-FDG PET/CT to predict long-term survival after liver transplantation (LT) for unresectable colorectal liver metastases (CRLM).

Methods: The preoperative 18F-FDG PET/CT from all SECA 1 and 2 patients was evaluated. MTV was obtained from all liver metastases. The patients were divided into one group with low MTV (< 70 cm3) and one group with high MTV (> 70 cm3) based on a receiver operating characteristic analysis. Overall survival (OS), disease-free survival (DFS) and post recurrence survival (PRS) for patients with low versus high MTV were compared using the Kaplan-Meier method and log rank test. Clinopathological features between the two groups were compared by a nonparametric Mann-Whitney U test for continuous and Fishers exact test for categorical data.

Results: At total of 40 patients were included. Patients with low MTV had significantly longer OS (p < 0.001), DFS (p < 0.001) and PRS (p = 0.006) compared to patients with high values. The patients with high MTV had higher CEA levels, number of liver metastases, size of the largest liver metastasis, N-stage, number of chemotherapy lines and more frequently progression of disease at LT compared to the patients with low MTV.

Conclusion: MTV of liver metastases is highly predictive of long-term OS, DFS and PRS after LT for unresectable CRLM and should be implemented in risk stratification prior to LT.

Keywords: 18F-FDG PET/CT; Colorectal cancer; Liver metastases; Liver transplantation; Metabolic tumor volume.

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography / methods
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods
  • Prognosis
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tumor Burden


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Radiopharmaceuticals