18F-FDG PET/CT and colorectal cancer: Value of fourth and subsequent posttherapy follow-up scans for patient management

Charles Marcus, Wael Marashdeh, Se Jin Ahn, Mehdi Taghipour, Rathan M. Subramaniam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the added value of a fourth and subsequent follow-up PET/CT scans to clinical assessment and impact on patient management in patients with colorectal cancer. Methods: This was an institutional review board- approved, retrospective study. Eight hundred twenty-two patients with biopsy-proven colorectal cancer, who underwent 18F-FDG PET/CT, were identified from 2000 to 2012. Among these, 73 (8.9%) patients underwent 4 or more follow-up PET/CT scans, with a total of 313 fourth and subsequent follow-up PET/CT scans. Median follow-up from the fourth follow-up PET/CT scan was 41.7 mo. The added value of each follow-up PET/CT scan, for clinical assessment and the treatment changes subsequent to each follow-up PET/CT scan, was established. Overall survival prediction was established using Kaplan-Meier plots with a Mantel-Cox log-rank test. Results: Of the 313 fourth and subsequent follow-up PET/CT scans, 174 (55.6%) were interpreted as positive and 139 (44.4%) were interpreted as negative for recurrence or metastases. Thirtyfour (46.6%) patients died during the study period. PET/CT identified recurrence or metastasis in 40.0% of scans obtained without prior clinical suspicion and ruled out disease in 23.6% of scans obtained with prior clinical suspicion. The PET/CT scan resulted in treatment change after 34.2% (107/313) of the scans. New treatment was initiated after 24.0% (75/313) of the scans, and treatment was changed after 8.0% (25/313) scans. There was a statistically significant difference in the overall survival between patients with a positive and all negative fourth and subsequent follow-up PET/CT scans at the patient level (log-rank, P 5 0.001). Conclusion: The fourth and subsequent 18F-FDG PET/CT scans obtained after primary treatment completion add value to clinical assessment and the management plan and provide prognostic information in patients with colorectal cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)989-994
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015



  • Clinical suspicion
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Follow-up
  • PET/CT
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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