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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2008 Oct;34(4):892-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcts.2008.07.023. Epub 2008 Aug 21.

Clinical implication and prognostic significance of standardised uptake value of primary non-small cell lung cancer on positron emission tomography: analysis of 176 cases.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, St. James's Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland; Department of Thoracic Surgery, Chest Disease Hospital, Kuwait.



We sought to assess the clinical implication and prognostic significance of maximum standardised uptake value (SUV(max)) of primary non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) staged by integrated PET-CT.


A retrospective review was carried out on 176 consecutive patients with histologically proven NSCLC who underwent staging with integrated PET-CT prior to curative intent surgical resection. SUV(max) of primary NSCLC were measured and correlated with tumour characteristics, lymph node involvement, surgical stage, type of surgical resection and survival following resection.


SUV(max) was significantly higher in centrally located tumours, tumours > or =4.0 cm, squamous cell subtype, poorly differentiated tumours, advanced T stage, advanced nodal stage, pleural invasion, and patients requiring complex surgical resection. SUV(max) value of 15 was the best discriminative cut-off value for survival generated by log-rank test. When patients were stratified based on this value, those with SUV(max) >15 were more likely to have centrally located tumours, squamous cell subtype, advanced T stage, advanced nodal stage, advanced American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) stage, larger tumour size and required more advanced surgical resections than a simple lobectomy. Overall survival was significantly longer for patients with SUV(max) < or =15 than those with SUV(max) >15. Furthermore, nodal stage specific survival following resection (i.e. non-N2 and N2) were significantly better in patients with SUV(max) < or =15 than SUV(max) >15.


SUV(max) correlates with tumour characteristics, surgical stage and prognosis following resection. SUV(max) may be a useful preoperative tool, in addition to other known prognostic markers, in allocating patients with potentially poor prognosis preoperatively to neoadjuvant chemotherapy prior to resection in order to improve their overall survival. Prospective and randomised trials are warranted.

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