DOI: 10.1007/s00259-017-3779-0Pages: 1-11

Elevated tumor-to-liver uptake ratio (TLR) from 18F–FDG-PET/CT predicts poor prognosis in stage IIA colorectal cancer following curative resection

1. the 6th Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Department of Colorectal Surgery

2. the 1st Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine

3. the 6th Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Department of Nuclear Medicine

4. the 1st Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Department of Nuclear Medicine

Correspondence to:
Meijin Huang
Tel: (+86 20) 38250745
Email: maymay0129@139.com

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Abstract

Purpose

The prognostic value of the tumor-to-liver uptake ratio (TLR) from 18-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (18F–FDG-PET/CT) in the early stage of colorectal cancer (CRC) is unclear. Notably, some stage IIA CRC patients experience early recurrence even after curative resection and might benefit from neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy. This study aims to evaluate whether elevated TLR from 18F–FDG-PET/CT can predict poor prognosis in stage IIA CRC patients undergoing curative resection.

Methods

From April 2010 to December 2013, 504 consecutive CRC patients with different TNM stages (I-IV) underwent 18F–FDG-PET/CT scans at the 6th Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University. Among the patients, 118 with stage IIA CRC who accepted preoperative 18F–FDG-PET/CT scanning and were treated with curative surgery alone were reviewed retrospectively. The maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) in the primary tumor, TLR, and demographic, clinical, histopathological, and laboratory data were analyzed. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve, univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify prognostic factors associated with patient disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS).

Results

ROC curve analysis demonstrated that TLR was superior to primary tumor SUVmax in predicting the risk of recurrence in stage IIA CRC. The optimal TLR cutoff was 6.2. Univariate analysis indicated that elevated TLR, tumor size, and lymphovascular/neural invasion correlated with DFS (P = 0.001, P = 0.002, and P = 0.001, respectively) and OS (P = 0.001, P = 0.003, and P < 0.001, respectively). The 1-, 3-, and 5-year DFS rates were 98.4%, 96.9%, and 96.9% for stage IIA CRC patients with lower TLR (≤6.2) versus 77.8%, 60.6%, and 60.6% for those with elevated TLR (>6.2), respectively. The 1-, 3-, and 5-year OS rates were 100.0%, 100.0%, and 98.3% for the patients with lower TLR versus 98.1%, 83.3%, and 74.3% for those with elevated TLR. Cox regression analysis showed that elevated TLR [>6.2; hazard ratio (HR): 3.109–57.463; P < 0.001] and tumor size (>4.4 cm; HR: 1.636–19.155; P = 0.006) were independent risk factors for DFS. Meanwhile, elevated TLR (>6.2; HR: 1.398–84.945; P = 0.023) and lymphovascular/neural invasion (positive; HR: 1.278–12.777; P = 0.017) were independent risk factors for OS.

Conclusion

Elevated TLR predicted worse DFS and OS for stage IIA CRC patients and might serve as a potential radiological index to identify candidates for neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy. Stage IIA CRC patients with elevated TLR should be monitored carefully for early detection of possible recurrence.

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  • Accepted: Jul 11, 2017
  • Online: Aug 15, 2017

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