Correlation of quantified metabolic activity in nonsmall cell lung cancer with tumor size and tumor pathological characteristics

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) with tumor size and tumor pathological characteristics as well as suggesting equations between SUVmax and tumor size in patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) to help differentiate between pathology types.

We retrospectively analyzed the fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT) findings of 98 patients with NSCLC. Statistical differences were considered significant when P < .05. Correlation between SUVmax and other variables was determined by Pearson and Spearman correlation. Both linear and nonlinear regression analysis were used to determine equations between SUVmax and tumor size to help differentiate between pathology types.

The mean SUVmax in patients with squamous cell carcinoma was significantly higher than that of adenocarcinoma (21.35 ± 1.73 vs 13.75 ± 0.89, P = .000). The results of regression analysis indicated that among all equations determined with relative accuracy, the “cubic equation” has the highest accuracy when considering the relationship between SUVmax and tumor size in patients with adenocarcinoma. In patients with squamous cell carcinoma, the most accurate equation was obtained using the “quadratic equation.”

There was a significant correlation between SUVmax and tumor differentiation and tumor size in patients with adenocarcinoma. SUVmax of patients with squamous cell carcinoma also had a significant correlation with tumor size. Overall SUVmax of patients with NSCLC could be predicted by tumor size value. In patients with squamous cell carcinoma compared with those with adenocarcinoma, SUVmax with less accuracy can be determined by tumor size. Linear regression analysis line slope can be used as an index for distinguishing adenocarcinoma from squamous cell carcinoma.

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