, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 931-937
Date: 31 Oct 2012

Added value of FDG-PET imaging in the diagnostic workup for yttrium-90 radioembolisation in patients with colorectal cancer liver metastases

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Yttrium-90 radioembolisation (Y90-RE) is recommended for unresectable, chemorefractory liver-dominant disease; however, the incidence of extrahepatic disease (EHD) is high. FDG-PET may have additional value to CT in demonstrating EHD. Our aim was to evaluate the added diagnostic value of FDG-PET to abdominal CT and study the influence of FDG-PET findings on treatment decisions.


All consecutive patients with colorectal cancer liver metastases (CRCLM) referred for Y90-RE were included. Patients who underwent both CT and FDG-PET in the diagnostic workup were selected. Imaging reports were scrutinised for documented sites of EHD, and changes of management due to FDG-PET findings were determined.


A total of 42 patients were included. Findings on CT and FDG-PET matched in 20 patients (no EHD, n = 15; identical EHD, n = 5). In 4 patients, lesions detected on CT were not FDG-avid, and in 18 patients, FDG-PET showed more lesions than CT (P < 0.05). In 7/42 patients (17 %) a change of management was made based on the additional FDG-PET findings, i.e. exclusion from Y90-RE treatment (n = 6) and change in treatment plan (whole liver rather than segmental treatment, n = 1).


In patients with CRCLM referred for Y90-RE, FDG-PET showed significantly more EHD and led to a considerable change of management.

Key Points

Yttrium-90 radioembolisation is a locoregional treatment for liver tumours

Detection of extrahepatic lesions, for which CT is widely used, is crucial

FDG-PET shows significantly more extrahepatic lesions compared to CT

FDG-PET findings led to a considerable change in treatment decisions