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J Clin Oncol. 2004 Mar 1;22(5):900-8.

Time course of tumor metabolic activity during chemoradiotherapy of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and response to treatment.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universitaet Muenchen, Ismaningerstrasse 22, D-81675 Munich, Germany.



To evaluate the time course of therapy-induced changes in tumor glucose use during chemoradiotherapy of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and to correlate the reduction of metabolic activity with histopathologic tumor response and patient survival.


Thirty-eight patients with histologically proven intrathoracic ESCC (cT3, cN0/+, cM0) scheduled to undergo a 4-week course of preoperative simultaneous chemoradiotherapy followed by esophagectomy were included. Patients underwent positron emission tomography with the glucose analog fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG-PET) before therapy (n = 38), after 2 weeks of initiation of therapy (n = 27), and preoperatively (3 to 4 weeks after chemoradiotherapy; n = 38). Tumor metabolic activity was quantitatively assessed by standardized uptake values (SUVs). Results Mean tumor FDG uptake before therapy was 9.3 +/- 2.8 SUV and decreased to 5.7 +/- 1.9 SUV 14 days after initiation of chemoradiotherapy (-38% +/- 18%; P <.0001). The preoperative scan showed an additional decrease of metabolic activity to 3.3 +/- 1.1 SUV (P <.0001). In histopathologic responders (< 10% viable cells in the resected specimen), the decrease in SUV from baseline to day 14 was 44% +/- 15%, whereas it was only 21% +/- 14% in nonresponders (P =.0055). Metabolic changes at this time point were also correlated with patient survival (P =.011). In the preoperative scan, tumor metabolic activity had decreased by 70% +/- 11% in histopathologic responders and 51% +/- 21% in histopathologic nonresponders.


Changes in tumor metabolic activity after 14 days of preoperative chemoradiotherapy are significantly correlated with tumor response and patient survival. This suggests that FDG-PET might be used to identify nonresponders early during neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy, allowing for early modifications of the treatment protocol.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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