Matched cohort analysis of the effect of pretreatment positron emission tomography on clinical outcomes of patients with head and neck cancer treated with definitive chemoradiotherapy

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Pretreatment positron emission tomography (PET) has been shown to be useful for patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) after definitive chemoradiotherapy (CRT).


We conducted a retrospective analysis of a matched cohort of 116 patients with HNSCC that underwent CRT treatment at our institution. Pretreatment PET was performed in 58 patients and omitted in the other 58 patients. The 2 cohorts were matched for T classification, N classification, primary site, and smoking history. Kaplan–Meier 2-year estimates of local control (LC), regional control (RC), freedom from distant metastasis (FFDM), cause-specific survival (CSS), and overall survival (OS) were compared with log-rank tests.


There were no differences between the 2 cohorts for 2-year endpoints of LC, RC, FFDM, CSS, and OS. On multivariate analysis pretreatment PET imaging did not influence any endpoint.


PET imaging before definitive CRT may not significantly improve outcomes in patients with HNSCC.

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