The prognostic role of 18F-FDG PET/CT-based response evaluation in children with stage 4 neuroblastoma

Eur Radiol. 2024 May 17. doi: 10.1007/s00330-024-10781-w. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: To evaluate the association between metabolic response on 18F-FDG PET/CT and long-term survival in children with neuroblastoma (NB).

Methods: A total of 39 consecutive children with newly diagnosed stage 4 NB undergoing both 18F-FDG PET/CT imaging at baseline and after chemotherapy were retrospectively analyzed. The associations between metabolic parameters, including SUVmax of the lesion with the most intense 18F-FDG uptake at baseline (SUVb), after chemotherapy (SUVe), and the percentage change between SUVb and SUVe, and long-term survival were evaluated.

Results: With a median follow-up of 56 months, 22 patients who had achieved complete resolution on PET (no residual 18F-FDG uptake higher than the surrounding backgrounds) after chemotherapy had superior 5-year overall survival (OS) (73.6% vs. 39.0%, p = 0.044). SUVb > 6.9 indicated significantly poorer 5-year event-free survival (EFS) (12.5% vs. 59.3%, p = 0.005), as did SUVe > 1.2 (18.8% vs. 41.7%, p = 0.041). Children with SUVe > 1.2 had shorter 5-year OS (33.9% vs. 75.0%, p = 0.018). Multivariate analysis identified SUVe > 1.2 as an independent predictor for both EFS [hazard ratio (HR), 3.479, 95% CI, 1.381-8.761, p = 0.008] and OS (HR, 6.948, 95% CI, 1.663-29.025, p = 0.008), while SUVb > 6.9 was a predictor for EFS (HR, 2.889, 95% CI, 1.064-7.842, p = 0.037). Among 11 children with both SUVb > 6.9 and SUVe > 1.2, all experienced disease progression or relapse within 2 years since diagnosis.

Conclusion: 18F-FDG PET/CT could be of useful to evaluate treatment response in children with stage 4 NB.

Clinical relevance statement: 18F-FDG PET/CT after chemotherapy exhibits prognostic significance in neuroblastoma and holds potential as an alternative imaging modality for response evaluation, especially in cases with metaiodobenzylguanidine-nonavid or persistent avid disease.

Key points: The prognostic value of chemotherapy response on 18F-FDG PET/CT in advanced neuroblastoma is unknown. Higher 18F-FDG uptake after chemotherapy was associated with worse long-term event-free survival and overall survival. 18F-FDG PET/CT after chemotherapy holds prognostic significance in children with stage 4 neuroblastoma.

Keywords: Fluorodeoxyglucose F18; Neuroblastoma; Positron emission tomography computed tomography; Prognosis.