To evaluate the utility of a standardized qualitative scoring system for treatment response assessment at 18F-FDG PET-CT in patients undergoing chemoradiotherapy for locally advanced cervical carcinoma and correlate this with subsequent patient outcome.Methods
Ninety-six consecutive patients with locally advanced cervical carcinoma treated with radical chemoradiotherapy (CRT) in a single centre between 2011 and 2014 underwent 18F-FDG PET-CT approximately 3 months post-treatment. Tumour metabolic response was assessed qualitatively using a 5-point scale ranging from background level activity only through to progressive metabolic disease. Clinical and radiological (MRI pelvis) follow-up was performed in all patients. Progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) was calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method (Mantel-Cox log-rank) and correlated with qualitative score using Chi-squared test.Results
Forty patients (41.7 %) demonstrated complete metabolic response (CMR) on post-treatment PET-CT (Score 1/2) with 38 patients (95.0 %) remaining disease free after a minimum follow-up period of 18 months. Twenty-four patients (25.0 %) had indeterminate residual uptake (ID, Score 3) at primary or nodal sites after treatment, of these eight patients (33.3 %) relapsed on follow-up, including all patients with residual nodal uptake (n = 4Eleven11 of 17 patients (64.7 %) with significant residual uptake (partial metabolic response, PMR, Score 4) subsequently relapsed. In 15 patients (15.6 %) PET-CT demonstrated progressive disease (PD, Score 5) following treatment. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed a highly statistically significant difference in PFS and OS between patients with CMR, indeterminate uptake, PMR and PD (Log-rank, P < 0.0001). Chi-squared test demonstrated a highly statistically significant association between increasing qualitative score and risk of recurrence or death (P < 0.001).Conclusion
Use of a 5-point qualitative scoring system to assess metabolic response to CRT in locally advanced cervical carcinoma predicts survival outcome and this prognostic information may help guide further patient management.
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