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J Nucl Med. 2012 Jan;53(1):29-36. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.111.092387. Epub 2011 Dec 12.

3'-deoxy-3'-18F-fluorothymidine PET and MRI for early survival predictions in patients with recurrent malignant glioma treated with bevacizumab.

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Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90005-6942, USA.


With the dismal prognosis for malignant glioma patients, survival predictions become key elements in patient management. This study compares the value of 3'-deoxy-3'-(18)F-fluorothymidine ((18)F-FLT) PET and MRI for early outcome predictions in patients with recurrent malignant glioma on bevacizumab therapy.


Thirty patients treated with bevacizumab combination therapy underwent (18)F-FLT PET immediately before and at 2 and 6 wk after the start of treatment. A metabolic treatment response was defined as a decrease of equal to or greater than 25% in tumor (18)F-FLT uptake (standardized uptake values) from baseline using receiver-operating-characteristic analysis. MRI treatment response was assessed at 6 wk according to the Response Assessment in Neurooncology criteria. (18)F-FLT responses at different times were compared with MRI response and correlated with progression-free survival and overall survival using Kaplan-Meier analysis. Metabolic response based on (18)F-FLT was further compared with other outcome predictors using Cox regression analysis.


Early and late changes in tumor (18)F-FLT uptake were more predictive of overall survival than MRI criteria (P < 0.001 and P = 0.01, respectively). (18)F-FLT uptake changes were also predictive of progression-free survival (P < 0.001). The median overall survival for responders was 3.3 times longer than for nonresponders based on (18)F-FLT PET criteria (12.5 vs. 3.8 mo, P < 0.001) but only 1.4 times longer using MRI assessment (12.9 vs. 9.0 mo, P = 0.05). On the basis of the 6-wk (18)F-FLT PET response, there were 16 responders (53%) and 14 nonresponders (47%), whereas MRI identified 9 responders (7 partial response, 2 complete response, 31%) and 20 nonresponders (13 stable disease, 7 progressive disease, 69%). In 7 of the 8 discrepant cases between MRI and PET, (18)F-FLT PET was able to demonstrate response earlier than MRI. Among various outcome predictors, multivariate analysis identified (18)F-FLT PET changes at 6 wk as the strongest independent survival predictor (P < 0.001; hazard ratio, 10.051).


Changes in tumor (18)F-FLT uptake were highly predictive of progression-free and overall survival in patients with recurrent malignant glioma on bevacizumab therapy. (18)F-FLT PET seems to be more predictive than MRI for early treatment response.

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