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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2008 Dec 1;72(5):1502-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2008.03.040. Epub 2008 Jun 4.

18-F-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography evaluation of early metabolic response during radiation therapy for cervical cancer.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA.



To document changes in cervical tumor (18)-F-fluorodeoxyglocose (FDG) uptake during radiation therapy and to correlate those changes with post-treatment tumor response and survival outcome.


A total of 36 patients with Stage Ib1 to IIIb cervical cancer were enrolled in an institutional protocol examining the use of fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) for brachytherapy treatment planning. As part of this study, FDG-PET or PET/computed tomograpy (CT) images were obtained before, during, and after the completion of radiation therapy. Tumor metabolic responses were assessed qualitatively and semi-quantitatively by measurement of the maximal standardized uptake value (SUV(max)).


Post-treatment FDG-PET images were obtained for 36 patients in this study. Of the patients, 29 patients had a complete metabolic response on the post-treatment PET, 4 had a partial metabolic response, and 3 had new sites of FDG uptake. Six patients had a complete metabolic response observed during radiation therapy, 26 had a partial metabolic response and 4 had stable or increased tumor metabolic activity. For patients with complete metabolic response during radiation therapy, median time to complete response was 29.5 days (range, 18-43 days). The mean cervical tumor SUV(max) decreased from 11.2 (SD, 6.3; range, 2.1-38.0) pretreatment to 2.4 (SD, 2.7; range, 0-8.8) mid treatment, and 0.5 (SD, 1.7; range, 0-8.3) post-treatment.


During radiation therapy for cervical cancer, FDG-PET can be used to monitor treatment response. Complete metabolic response during radiation therapy was observed for a subset of patients. Recommendations regarding the optimal timing of FDG-PET during treatment for cervical cancer will require further systematic study.

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