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J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2011 Jul;137(7):1085-93. doi: 10.1007/s00432-010-0972-y. Epub 2011 Jan 13.

18F-FDG PET or PET-CT to evaluate prognosis for head and neck cancer: a meta-analysis.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Shandong Tumor Hospital and Institute, Key Laboratory of Radiation Oncology of Shandong Province, Jiyan Road 440, 250117, Jinan, Shandong Province, China.



The purpose of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the prognostic value of standard uptake value (SUV) from serial Fluorine-18-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography ((18)F-FDG PET/CT) in patients with head and neck cancer.


We searched for articles limited to head and neck cancer, dealt with the impact of SUV on survival and published in English. The endpoints were disease-free survival (DFS), overall survival (OS), and local control (LC). Two reviewers extracted data independently.


Thirty-five studies were identified; of which, 26 studies involving 1,415 patients met the inclusion criteria. Pooled survival data suggested better DFS, OS, and LC in patients with low SUV of pre-treatment, and the odds ratio (OR) was 0.23, 0.24, and 0.27, respectively. Patients having tumors with low SUV of post-treatment also had significantly better DFS (OR = 0.17) and OS (OR = 0.28) than those with high SUV.


The present meta-analysis showed that (18)F-FDG uptake, as measured by the SUV before treatment and metabolic response after treatment, are valuable for predicting long-term survival in head and neck cancer. High (18)F-FDG uptake may be useful for identifying patients requiring more aggressive treatment.

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