DOI: 10.1007/s00259-017-3762-9Pages: 1915-1927

Role of interim 18F-FDG-PET/CT for the early prediction of clinical outcomes of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) during radiotherapy or chemo-radiotherapy. A systematic review

1. European Institute of Oncology, Radiation Research Unit

2. European Institute of Oncology, Division of Nuclear Medicine

3. Medical Physics Unit, European Institute of Oncology

4. European Institute of Oncology, Division of Radiation Oncology

5. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Department of Radiation Oncology

6. Politecnico di Milano University, Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering

7. University of Milan, Department of Oncology and Hemato-Oncology

8. European Institute of Oncology, Department of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences

Correspondence to:
Marta Cremonesi
Tel: +39 02 57489231




Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) is characterized by aggressiveness and includes the majority of thorax malignancies. The possibility of early stratification of patients as responsive and non-responsive to radiotherapy with a non-invasive method is extremely appealing. The distribution of the Fluorodeoxyglucose (18F–FDG) in tumours, provided by Positron-Emission-Tomography (PET) images, has been proved to be useful to assess the initial staging of the disease, recurrence, and response to chemotherapy and chemo-radiotherapy (CRT).


In the last years, particular efforts have been focused on the possibility of using ad interim 18F–FDG PET (FDGint) to evaluate response already in the course of radiotherapy. However, controversial findings have been reported for various malignancies, although several results would support the use of FDGint for individual therapeutic decisions, at least in some pathologies. The objective of the present review is to assemble comprehensively the literature concerning NSCLC, to evaluate where and whether FDGint may offer predictive potential.


Several searches were completed on Medline and the Embase database, combining different keywords. Original papers published in the English language from 2005 to 2016 with studies involving FDGint in patients affected by NSCLC and treated with radiation therapy or chemo-radiotherapy only were chosen.


Twenty-one studies out of 970 in Pubmed and 1256 in Embase were selected, reporting on 627 patients.


Certainly, the lack of univocal PET parameters was identified as a major drawback, while standardization would be required for best practice. In any case, all these papers denoted FDGint as promising and a challenging examination for early assessment of outcomes during CRT, sustaining its predictivity in lung cancer.

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  • Accepted: Jun 14, 2017
  • Online: Jul 5, 2017

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