Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 98–105 | Cite as

Usefulness of Integrated PET/MRI in Head and Neck Cancer: A Preliminary Study

  • Soo Jin Lee
  • Hyo Jung SeoEmail author
  • Gi Jeong CheonEmail author
  • Ji Hoon Kim
  • E. Edmund Kim
  • Keon Wook Kang
  • Jin Chul Paeng
  • June-Key Chung
  • Dong Soo Lee
Original Article



The new modality of an integrated positron emission tomography/magnetic resonance imaging (PET/MRI) has recently been introduced but not validated. Our objective was to evaluate clinical performance of 18F-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose (18F-FDG) PET/MRI in patients with head and neck cancer.


This retrospective study was conducted between January 2013 and February 2013. Ten patients (eight men, two women; mean age, 61.4 ± 13.4 years) with histologically proven head and neck tumors were enrolled. Whole-body PET/MRI and regional positron emission tomography (PET) with dedicated MRI were sequentially obtained. Maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax), SUVmean, metabolic tumor volume, total lesion glycolysis and contrast enhancement were analyzed. A total of ten whole-body positron emission tomography (PET), ten regional positron emission tomography (PET), ten dedicated MRI and ten regional PET/gadolinium-enhanced T1-weighted (Gd)-MRI images were analyzed for initial staging. Two nuclear medicine physicians analyzed positron emission tomography (PET) and PET/MRI with a consensus. One radiologist analyzed dedicated MRI. The primary lesions and number of metastatic lymph nodes analyzed from each image were compared.


Eight patients were diagnosed with head and neck cancer (one tongue cancer, four tonsillar cancers, one nasopharyngeal cancer and two hypopharyngeal cancers) by histological diagnosis. Two benign tumors (pleomorphic adenoma and Warthin tumor) were diagnosed with surgical operation. Whole-body positron emission tomography (PET) and regional positron emission tomography (PET) attenuated by MRI showed good image quality for the lesion detection. Whole-body positron emission tomography (PET) and regional positron emission tomography (PET) detected ten primary sites and compensated for a missed lesion on dedicated MRI. A discordant number of suspicious lymph node metastases was noted according to the different images; 22, 16, 39 and 40 in the whole-body positron emission tomography (PET) only, dedicated MR, regional positron emission tomography (PET) only and regional PET/Gd-MRI, respectively. There was no distant metastasis based on analysis of whole-body positron emission tomography (PET) and whole-body PET/Dixon-volume interpolated breathhold examination (VIBE) MRI. Regional PET/Gd-MRI combined with whole-body PET/MRI modified staging in three patients. Lesions of primary tumor and suspicious metastasis were well detected on both value of SUVmax and visual analysis. The regional PET/Gd-MRI combined with whole-body PET/MRI showed convenient clinical staging performance compared with positron emission tomography (PET) and MRI alone.


In this preliminary study, PET attenuated by MRI showed good image quality to detect lesions. And whole-body PET/MRI as a single modality was feasible for staging in a clinical setting. Whole-body positron emission tomography (PET), regional positron emission tomography (PET), dedicated MRI and regional PET/Gd-MRI showed discordant results in lesion detection. These discordant results might be synergistic effect for accurate staging.


Head and neck cancer Oncology PET MRI Integrated PET/MRI 


Conflict of interest

Soo Jin Lee, Hyo Jung Seo, Gi Jeong Cheon, Ji Hoon Kim, E. Edmund Kim , Keon Wook Kang, Jin Chul Paeng, June-Key Chung, Dong Soo Lee declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Korean Society of Nuclear Medicine 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Soo Jin Lee
    • 1
  • Hyo Jung Seo
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Gi Jeong Cheon
    • 1
    • 3
    • 6
    Email author
  • Ji Hoon Kim
    • 4
  • E. Edmund Kim
    • 2
    • 5
  • Keon Wook Kang
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jin Chul Paeng
    • 1
  • June-Key Chung
    • 1
    • 3
  • Dong Soo Lee
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Nuclear MedicineSeoul National University HospitalSeoulKorea
  2. 2.Department of Molecular Medicine and Biopharmaceutical Sciences, WCU Graduate School of Convergence Science and TechnologySeoul National University College of MedicineSeoulKorea
  3. 3.Cancer Research InstituteSeoul National University College of MedicineSeoulKorea
  4. 4.Department of RadiologySeoul National University HospitalSeoulKorea
  5. 5.Department of Radiological ScienceUniversity of California at IrvineIrvineUSA
  6. 6.Department of Nuclear MedicineSeoul National University College of MedicineSeoulKorea

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