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The aim of this study was to determine the usefulness of combined positron emission tomography (PET)/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) parameters provided by simultaneous 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET/MRI for the prediction of treatment failure in surgically resected head and neck cancer. We hypothesized that PET parameters corrected by tumor cellularity (combined PET/MRI parameters) could predict the prognosis. On regional PET, maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) was measured as metabolic parameters. In addition, metabolic tumor volume (MTV) and total lesion glycolysis (TLG) were checked as metabolo-volumetric parameters. Mean apparent diffusion coefficient (ADCmean) of tumor was evaluated as the MRI parameter on the ADC map. Ratios between metabolic/metabolo-volumetric parameters and ADC were calculated as combined PET/MRI parameters. PET, MRI, and combined PET/MRI parameters were compared with clinicopathologic parameters in terms of treatment failure.
Seventy-two patients (mean age = 55.9 ± 14.6 year, M: F = 45: 27) who underwent simultaneous 18F-FDG PET/MRI before head and neck cancer surgery were retrospectively enrolled. Twenty-two patients (30.6%) showed tumor treatment failure after head and neck cancer surgery (mean treatment failure = 13.0 ± 7.0 months). In the univariate analysis, MTV (P = 0.044) and ratios between metabolo-volumetric parameters and ADC (MTV/ADCmean, P = 0.022; TLG/ADCmean, P = 0.044) demonstrated significance among 18F-FDG PET/MRI parameters. Lymphatic invasion (P = 0.044) and perineural invasion (P = 0.046) revealed significance among clinicopathologic parameters. In the multivariate analysis, MTV (P = 0.026), MTV/ADCmean (P = 0.011), and TLG/ADCmean (P = 0.002) with lymphatic invasion (P = 0.026, 0.026, and 0.044, respectively) showed significance.
Combined PET/MRI parameters (PET metabolo-volumetric parameters corrected by tumor cellularity) could be effective predictors of tumor treatment failure after head and neck cancer surgery in addition to MTV and clinicopathologic parameter.