Fluorine-18-fluorodeoxyglucose (F-18 FDG) PET was used to evaluate early-stage larynx cancer before and after radiotherapy. Less radical salvage surgery might be possible after timely diagnosis of recurrent or persistent tumor after radiotherapy. Eight patients with early-stage laryngeal cancer (two carcinoma in situ; six stage T1: tumor limited to vocal cords with normal mobility) underwent irradiation for potential cure. Five patients had pre- and postradiotherapy F-18 FDG PET, and three had postradiotherapy F-18 FDG PET only. All patients underwent a CT scan of the neck at the time of the F-18 FDG PET scan. One patient had a positive result of postradiotherapy F-18 FDG PET but a negative result of a CT of the neck, and biopsy revealed recurrent squamous carcinoma. Seven patients who had negative results of postradiotherapy F-18 FDG PET were free of disease at the 15-month median follow-up evaluation. (Three of them had no cancer on biopsy of the larynx, and four others were followed with periodic endoscopic examinations that revealed complete disappearance of the tumor.) F-18 FDG PET scan may be useful for earlier diagnosis of recurrent or persistent laryngeal cancer after radiotherapy and is preferable to repeated biopsies, which would traumatize radiation-damaged tissues. A prompt early diagnosis of failure of radiotherapy will lead to less radical salvage surgery.