There is substantial risk that prognosis determined with routine clinical staging for cervical cancer may be inaccurate. This is primarily due to understaging due to the lack of detection of nodal disease. This is particularly true for para-aortic nodal metastases. Treatment based on such staging may also be inadequate for the same reason. Positron emission tomography (PET) has been demonstrated to be useful in the staging of cervical cancer and superior to either computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging in the detection of nodal disease. Our objective was to determine the prognostic value of pretreatment 2-[18F]-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) PET scan in women with cervical cancer. We reviewed the records of 56 women with cervical cancer who underwent FDG PET scan prior to treatment. The primary outcome was the effect of abnormal FDG uptake consistent with metastatic nodal disease on 20-month disease-free survival. The pretreatment PET scan demonstrated abnormal FDG uptake in the pelvic nodes alone in 14 (25%) women, in pelvic and para-aortic nodes in 10 (17.9%), and in neither pelvic nor para-aortic nodes in 32 (57.1%). Women with positive pelvic nodes by PET as well as women with positive para-aortic nodes had significantly poorer 20-month disease-free survival compared to women with negative nodes (P= 0.0003 and P= 0.0017, respectively). We conclude that pretreatment FDG PET scan revealing abnormal FDG uptake consistent with nodal disease is a robust predictor of disease recurrence and may alter the therapeutic management of some patients.
- cervical cancer
- disease-free survival
- FDG PET scan
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