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J Clin Oncol. 1996 Mar;14(3):700-8.

Noninvasive monitoring of tumor metabolism using fluorodeoxyglucose and positron emission tomography in colorectal cancer liver metastases: correlation with tumor response to fluorouracil.

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GI Unit and the Joint Department of Physics, The Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden Hospital, Surrey, United Kingdom.



To investigate and measure the metabolism of colorectal cancer liver metastases using 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET), before and during the first month of chemotherapy. The findings were compared with tumor outcome conventionally assessed using changes in tumor size.


Patients with colorectal cancer liver metastases were treated with fluorouracil (5FU) as a protracted venous infusion (300 mg/m2/d), with or without interferon-alpha 2b for two 10-week blocks separated by a 2-week break. Before and at 1 to 2 and 4 to 5 weeks on treatment, FDG PET scans were performed. Patients fasted, were injected intravenously with FDG (50 to 100 MBq), and scanned using a large-area positron camera; the image data was processed such that regions of interest could be identified. The results were expressed as a ratio of FDG uptake in the tumor and normal liver (T:L) or as a semiquantitative standardized uptake value (SUV). These measures were compared with the tumor dimensions measured on a computed tomographic (CT) scan performed at 12 weeks from commencement of chemotherapy.


Twenty patients were studied; however, two did not have assessable liver metastases. Objective partial responses were observed in 11 of 18 patients. A total of 27 metastatic lesions were assessable. Pretreatment T:L ratios and SUVs did not correlate with tumor response, although response was associated with lower 1- to 2-week (1.84 v 2.17; t=2.667; P < .02) and 4- to 5-week (1.36 v 2.28; t=5.02; P < .001) T:L ratios, and 4- to 5-week (3.57 v 4.95; t=2.492; P < .05) SUVs. Expressed as a percent of the baseline values of the T:L ratio, responding lesions had a greater reduction in metabolism (67% v 99%; t=7.53; P < .001). The 4- to 5-week T:L ratio was able to discriminate response from nonresponse both in a lesion-by-lesion and overall patient response assessment (sensitivity 100%; specificity 90% and 75%, respectively).


Positron emission tomography used to evaluate the uptake of FDG in tumors yields data that correlate with the antitumor effect of chemotherapy in patients with liver metastases from colorectal cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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