This retrospective study was done to examine whether the heterogeneity in primary tumour F-18-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) distribution can predict tumour response and prognosis of patients with esophageal cancer treated by chemoradiotherapy (CRT).
The enrolled 52 patients with esophageal cancer underwent 18F-FDG-PET/CT studies before CRT. SUVmax, SUVmean, metabolic tumour volume (MTV, SUV ≥ 2.5), total lesion glycolysis (TLG) and six heterogeneity parameters assessed by texture analysis were obtained. Patients were classified as responders or non-responders according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were calculated by the Kaplan–Meier method. Prognostic significance was assessed by Cox proportional hazards analysis.
Thirty four non-responders showed significantly higher MTV (p = 0.006), TLG (p = 0.007), intensity variability (IV; p = 0.003) and size-zone variability (SZV; p = 0.004) than 18 responders. The positive and negative predictive values for non-responders were 77 % and 69 % in MTV, 76 % and 100 % in TLG, 78 % and 67 % in IV and 78 % and 82 % in SZV, respectively. Although PFS and OS were significantly shorter in patients with high MTV (PFS, p = 0.018; OS, p = 0.014), TLG (PFS, p = 0.009; OS, p = 0.025), IV (PFS, p = 0.013; OS, p = 0.007) and SZV (PFS, p = 0.010; OS, p = 0.007) at univariate analysis, none of them was an independent factor, while lymph node status, stage and tumour response status were independent factors at multivariate analysis.
Texture features IV and SZV, and volumetric parameters MTV and TLG can predict tumour response, but all of them have limited value in prediction of prognosis of patients with esophageal cancer treated by CRT.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.