Combined 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography and computed tomography as a primary screening method for detecting second primary cancers and distant metastases in patients with head and neck cancer


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Abstract

BackgroundThe aim of this study was to evaluate the ability of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT) to detect second primary cancers and distant metastases in patients with head and neck cancer (HNC).Patients and methodsPatients with previous untreated HNC, between 2004 and 2005, underwent head and neck CT and whole-body FDG-PET/CT, before and at fixed intervals after therapy, for staging and detection of second primary cancers and distant metastases. Patients with malignant or equivocal findings on FDG-PET/CT underwent further imaging, endoscopy and/or biopsy.ResultsOf the 349 eligible patients (267 men and 82 women), 14 (4.0%) had second primary cancers and 26 (7.4%) had distant metastases at initial staging or during mean follow-up of 15 months after treatment. FDG-PET/CT correctly identified second cancers or distant metastases in 39 of these 40 patients; there was one false negative and 23 false positive FDG-PET/CT results. Therefore, FDG-PET/CT had a sensitivity of 97.5%, a specificity of 92.6%, a positive predictive value of 62.9% and a negative predictive value of 99.7% in detecting second primary cancers and distant metastases.ConclusionCombined FDG-PET/CT is useful as a primary method for detecting second cancers and distant metastases in patients with HNC.

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