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Clin Cancer Res. 2007 Jun 1;13(11):3255-63.

Fluorodeoxyglucose uptake of primary non-small cell lung cancer at positron emission tomography: new contrary data on prognostic role.

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Department of Radiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.



This prospective study evaluated the prognostic significance of (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose ((18)F-FDG) uptake in primary non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) at positron emission tomography, in a carefully staged population, while correcting for partial volume effects.


Two hundred eight potentially resectable NSCLC patients were referred for FDG positron emission tomography staging after thoracic computed tomography. Each tumor stage was confirmed surgically, or for some stage IV tumors by additional imaging. The tumor maximum pixel-standardized uptake value (maxSUV) and the maxSUV partial volume corrected for lesion size (PVCmaxSUV) were compared with overall survival and disease-free survival using Cox proportional hazards regression.


Stage distribution: stage I, 36%; stage II, 15%; stage III, 30%; stage IV, 19%. Patients were followed for a median of 33.6 months, with 90 deaths from NSCLC (median survival for all stages, 43.3 months). With respect to overall survival, the most significant cutoff value for both maxSUV and PVCmaxSUV was 7. MaxSUV > or =7 was significantly associated with an increased risk of death from NSCLC in univariable analysis, whereas PVCmaxSUV > or =7 was only marginally associated. However, in multivariable analyses, neither maxSUV > or =7 nor PVCmaxSUV > or =7 provided significant additional prognostic information over stage, tumor size, and age. In the 103 patients who underwent surgical resection only, surgical stage, but not maxSUV or PVCmaxSUV, was univariably associated with survival or recurrence. SUV definitions based on lean body mass, body surface area, and plasma glucose correction yielded identical results.


As expected, tumor stage is prognostic in NSCLC. However, tumor FDG uptake does not provide additional prognostic information. This prospective study contradicts prior reports.

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