DOI: 10.1007/s00259-018-4011-6Pages: 1742-1751

Prediction and diagnosis of interval metastasis after neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy for oesophageal cancer using 18F-FDG PET/CT

1. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Radiation Oncology

2. University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, Department of Radiation Oncology

3. University Medical Center Utrecht, Department of Surgery

4. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Diagnostic Radiology

5. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology

6. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

Correspondence to:
Steven H. Lin
Tel: 713-563-8490




During neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy for oesophageal cancer, or in the interval prior to surgery, some patients develop systemic metastasis. This study aimed to evaluate the diagnostic performance of 18F-FDG PET/CT for the detection of interval metastasis and to identify predictors of interval metastases in a large cohort of oesophageal cancer patients.


In total, 783 consecutive patients with potentially resectable oesophageal cancer who underwent chemoradiotherapy and pre- and post-treatment 18F-FDG PET/CT between 2006 and 2015 were analyzed from a prospectively maintained database. Diagnostic accuracy measures were calculated on a per-patient basis using histological verification or clinical follow-up as a reference standard. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed to determine pre-treatment predictors of interval metastasis. A prediction score was developed to predict the probability of interval metastasis.


Of 783 patients that underwent 18F-FDG PET/CT restaging, 65 (8.3%) were found to have interval metastasis and 44 (5.6%) were deemed to have false positive lesions. The resulting sensitivity and specificity was 74.7% (95% CI: 64.3–83.4%) and 93.7% (95% CI: 91.6–95.4%), respectively. Multivariable analysis revealed that tumor length, cN status, squamous cell tumor histology, and baseline SUVmax were associated with interval metastasis. Based on these criteria, a prediction score was developed with an optimism adjusted C-index of 0.67 that demonstrated accurate calibration.


18F-FDG PET/CT restaging detects distant interval metastases in 8.3% of patients after chemoradiotherapy for oesophageal cancer. The provided prediction score may stratify risk of developing interval metastasis, and could be used to prioritize additional restaging modalities for patients most likely to benefit.

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  • Accepted: Apr 6, 2018
  • Online: Apr 16, 2018

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