Nodal FDG-PET/CT uptake influences outcome and relapse location among esophageal cancer patients submitted to chemotherapy or radiochemotherapy

  • E. Jimenez-JimenezEmail author
  • P. Mateos
  • I. Ortiz
  • N. Aymar
  • R. Roncero
  • M. Gimenez
  • J. Pardo
  • S. Sabater
Research Article



Our aim was investigate whether lymph node uptake is associated with survival and regional relapses, and relapse patterns with respect to the radiotherapy fields in esophageal cancer (EC).

Materials and methods

The FDG-PET/CT image datasets of 56 patients were analyzed. All patients underwent definitive or neoadjuvant radio/chemotherapy (RCT). All patients suffering from persistent or recurrent local/regional-only disease after RCT were considered for salvage resection. Patients with adenocarcinoma without metastatic disease were considered for planned resection (usually within 3 months of treatment).


Patients with PET-positive lymph nodes before treatment had a worse overall survival and a shorter disease-free survival than those without PET-positive nodes. They also had worse node and metastatic relapse-free survival. N2 patients had statistically significant poorer outcomes than N1–N0 patients and a better survival if the involved nodes were closer to the esophageal tumor. Involved node location by PET/CT also affected global, nodal and metastatic relapses. In addition, an increment of SUVmax value increased relative risk of death and increased relative risk of node and metastatic relapses. The first site of relapse was metastatic recurrence and, second, local recurrence. The most frequent were “in-field” loco/regional recurrence. We observed a relationship between patients classified-N1 and out-field nodal recurrence (p = 0.024), and between patients-N2 and in-field nodal recurrence. The number of PET-positive nodes was an independent significant prognostic predictor for relapse (p < 0.001).


Our study shows that only FDG-PET/CT can provide prognostic information in EC. Nodal PET/CT uptake influences outcome and relapse location among EC patients.


FDG-PET/CT Esophageal Radiotherapy Nodal Relapse 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval (Research involving human participants and/or animals)

Retrospective study; treatment has not been modified.

Informed consent

Retrospective study; treatment has not been modified.


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Copyright information

© Federación de Sociedades Españolas de Oncología (FESEO) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Radiation Oncology DepartmentComplejo Hospitalario Universitario de AlbaceteAlbaceteSpain
  2. 2.Medical Physics DepartmentClinica IMQ ZorrotzaurreBilbaoSpain
  3. 3.Radiation Oncology DepartmentHospital Universitari Son EspasesPalma de MallorcaSpain
  4. 4.Nuclear Medicine DepartmentHospital Universitari Son EspasesPalma de MallorcaSpain

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