Background: Positron emission tomography (PET) using F-18-flurodeoxyglucose (18FDG) is an imaging modality allowing direct evaluation of cellular glucose metabolism. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of 18FDG-PET in monitoring chemoembolization therapy of patients with liver metastases from adenocarcinoma.
Methods: Thirty-four hepatic lesions in 4 patients were evaluated with 18FDG-PET before and 2-3 months after interventional therapy. All patients underwent transcatheter arterial chemoembolization. A total of nine PET studies were performed. Semiquantitative measurement of the metabolic activity of the lesions was performed using the standard uptake value (SUV) of 18FDG. Comparison was performed between sequential PET scans using Student's t test for paired data analysis. The PET findings were also compared with tumor marker levels measured at the time of the PET scans.
Results: Twenty-five of 34 lesions had decreased 18FDG uptake (SUV = 8 +/- 2 vs. 3 +/- 1; P < 0.00001), as expected in successful tumor chemoembolization. These findings were associated with a significant decrease in serum tumor marker levels (86 +/- 4%; P < 0.05) after treatment. However, there were 3 new lesions, and 6 of the 34 lesions demonstrated persistent or increased 18FDG uptake after treatment (SUV = 8 +/- 2 vs. 13 +/- 3; P < 0.05), consistent with the presence of residual viable tumor. These findings led to further interventional therapy in all patients.
Conclusions: 18FDG-PET allows monitoring of response to treatment with hepatic chemoembolization in patients with liver metastases from adenocarcinoma. PET is a useful diagnostic tool and has the potential to be used to guide further interventional therapy.