, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 472-478
Date: 07 Feb 2007

The Role and Limitations of 18-Fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose Positron Emission Tomography (FDG-PET) Scan and Computerized Tomography (CT) in Restaging Patients with Hepatic Colorectal Metastases Following Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy: Comparison with Operative and Pathological Findings

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Recent data confirmed the importance of 18-fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) in the selection of patients with colorectal hepatic metastases for surgery. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy before hepatic resection in selected cases may improve outcome. The influence of chemotherapy on the sensitivity of FDG-PET and CT in detecting liver metastases is not known.


Patients were assigned to either neoadjuvant treatment or immediate hepatic resection according to resectability, risk of recurrence, extrahepatic disease, and patient preference. Two-thirds of them underwent FDG-PET/CT before chemotherapy; all underwent preoperative contrast-enhanced CT and FDG-PET/CT. Those without extensive extrahepatic disease underwent open exploration and resection of all the metastases according to original imaging findings. Operative and pathological findings were compared to imaging results.


Twenty-seven patients (33 lesions) underwent immediate hepatic resection (group 1), and 48 patients (122 lesions) received preoperative neoadjuvant chemotherapy (group 2). Sensitivity of FDG-PET and CT in detecting colorectal (CR) metastases was significantly higher in group 1 than in group 2 (FDG-PET: 93.3 vs 49%, P < 0.0001; CT: 87.5 vs 65.3, P = 0.038). CT had a higher sensitivity than FDG-PET in detecting CR metastases following neoadjuvant therapy (65.3 vs 49%, P < 0.0001). Sensitivity of FDG-PET, but not of CT, was lower in group 2 patients whose chemotherapy included bevacizumab compared to patients who did not receive bevacizumab (39 vs 59%, P = 0.068).


FDG-PET/CT sensitivity is lowered by neoadjuvant chemotherapy. CT is more sensitive than FDG-PET in detecting CR metastases following neoadjuvant therapy. Surgical decision-making requires information from multiple imaging modalities and pretreatment findings. Baseline FDG-PET and CT before neoadjuvant therapy are mandatory.

The abstract was presented before the 58th Cancer Symposium of the Society of Surgical Oncology, Atlanta, GA, USA, 2005, and before the 2005 Congress of the American Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association, Fort-Lauderdale, FL, USA.