DOI: 10.1007/s00259-017-3836-8Pages: 170-178

The role of interim FDG PET-CT after induction chemotherapy as a predictor of concurrent chemoradiotherapy efficacy and prognosis for head and neck cancer

1. Chonnam National University Medical School, Department of Hemato-Oncology

2. Chonnam National University Medical School, Department of Nuclear Medicine

3. Chonnam National University Medical School, Department of Radiation-Oncology

4. Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine

Correspondence to:
Woo Kyun Bae
Tel: +82-61-379-7623




Induction chemotherapy (ICT) with docetaxel, cisplatin, and 5-fluorouracil (TPF) followed by concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) has the advantages of organ preservation and systemic control in head and neck cancer (HNC). Early prediction of CCRT efficacy may help identify patients who will benefit more from surgery than from CCRT. We investigated the role of interim 18-fluoro-2-deoxy-glucose positron emission tomography computed tomography (FDG PET-CT) after ICT to predict the efficacy of CCRT and clinical outcomes.


Tumor responses were retrospectively reviewed after CCRT based on the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors. FDG PET-CT imaging was performed before and after three cycles of TPF. We examined the associations between the metabolic response (percentage decrease in the maximum standardized uptake value [SUVmax] and total metabolic tumor volume [MTV]) after ICT and complete response (CR) to CCRT, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS).


We studied 43 HNC patients with a median follow-up of 32.7 months. Lymph node (LN) SUVmax and total MTV decreases from baseline after ICT were greater in patients with a CR to CCRT than in non-CR patients (LN SUVmax, 88.8% vs. 62.5%, respectively; total MTV, 99.7% vs. 89.9%, respectively). Decreases in total MTV ≥ 78% and LN SUVmax ≥73% after ICT predicted CR to CCRT and longer OS and PFS.


Using interim FDG PET-CT to measure SUVmax and total MTV after three cycles of ICT may be a useful technique for identifying HNC patients who will benefit from CCRT and predicting survival outcomes.

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  • Accepted: Sep 14, 2017
  • Online: Sep 22, 2017

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