Identification of distant metastases with positron-emission tomography-computed tomography in patients with previously untreated head and neck cancer

Christine G. Gourin, Tammara L. Watts, Hadyn T. Williams, Vijay S. Patel, Paul A. Bilodeau, Teresa A. Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the utility of positron-emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) in identifying distant metastatic disease in patients with previously untreated head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC) prior to definitive treatment. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Retrospective analysis of 27 consecutive patients with previously untreated HNSCC who underwent PET-CT imaging in addition to chest radiography (CXR) as part of their metastatic workup. RESULTS: The majority of patients (89%) had TNM stage III or IV disease. PET-CT was suspicious for pulmonary malignancy in four (15%) patients and indeterminate in one (4%) patient. CXR was suspicious for pulmonary malignancy in two (7%) patients. Pulmonary metastases or a new lung primary was present in 3 (11%) patients: 3 of 4 (75%) patients with positive PET-CT scans and 0 of 23 (0%) patients with negative or indeterminate PET-CT scans compared with 2 of 2 (100%) patients with positive CXR and 1 of 25 (4%) patients with negative CXR. The sensitivity and specificity of PET-CT in predicting pulmonary malignancy was 100% and 96%, respectively, with a positive predictive value of 75% and a negative predictive value of 100%. The sensitivity and specificity of CXR in predicting pulmonary malignancy was 67% and 100%, respectively, with a positive predictive value of 100% and a negative predictive value of 96%. Including nonpulmonary sites, the overall incidence of distant metastatic disease was 19% (5/27) with 11% (3/27) unsuspected prior to PET-CT. CONCLUSIONS: PET-CT improves detection of metastatic disease in the high-risk patient and should be performed as part of the routine pretreatment evaluation of patients with advanced stage HNSCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-675
Number of pages5
JournalLaryngoscope
Volume118
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008

Keywords

  • Distant metastases
  • Head and neck neoplasms
  • Positron-emission tomography-computed tomography
  • Pulmonary metastases
  • Screening
  • Squamous cell cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

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