Purpose: To evaluate positron emission tomography (PET) with 2-[fluorine-18]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) in detection of suspected recurrence of head and neck cancer, and to compare visual, static, and kinetic analyses of the tracer uptake.
Materials and methods: Seventeen dynamic FDG PET studies were performed in 15 patients. The images were interpreted visually, and the uptake was quantitated as the standardized uptake value (SUV) and as the regional FDG metabolic rate.
Results: Sensitivity of blinded visual interpretation of the PET images for the presence of malignancy was 88% and specificity was 86%. Malignant lesions accumulated significantly more FDG than benign lesions (P = .008 for SUVs, P = .002 for regional metabolic rates). When maximum uptake of FDG in the benign lesions was used as a threshold, the sensitivity of SUV analysis for malignancy was 75% and that of regional metabolic rates was 86%.
Conclusion: Detection of recurrent head and neck cancer is feasible with FDG PET. Quantitation of FDG uptake assists in correct interpretation of the PET images.