Recurrent bladder carcinoma: clinical and prognostic role of 18 F-FDG PET/CT

  • Pierpaolo AlongiEmail author
  • Federico Caobelli
  • Roberta Gentile
  • Alessandro Stefano
  • Giorgio Russo
  • Domenico Albano
  • Sergio Baldari
  • Maria Carla Gilardi
  • Massimo Midiri
Original Article



A small number of studies evaluated the detection rate of lesions from bladder carcinoma (BC) of 18 F-FDG PET/CT in the restaging process. However, the prognostic role of FDG PET/CT still remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the accuracy, the effect upon treatment decision, and the prognostic value of FDG PET/CT in patients with suspected recurrent BC.

Materials and Methods

Forty-one patients affected by BC underwent FDG PET/CT for restaging purpose. The diagnostic accuracy of visually interpreted FDG PET/CT was assessed compared to histology (n = 8), other diagnostic imaging modalities (contrast-enhanced CT in 38/41 patients and MRI in 15/41) and clinical follow-up (n = 41). Semiquantitative PET values (SUVmax, SUVmean, SUL, MTV, TLG) were calculated using a graph-based method. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were assessed by using Kaplan-Meier curves. The risk of progression (hazard ratio, HR) was computed by Cox regression analysis by considering all the available variables.


PET was considered positive in 21 of 41 patients. Of these, recurrent BC was confirmed in 20 (95 %). Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and accuracy of FDG PET/CT were 87 %, 94 %, 95 %, 85 %, 90 %. AUC was 0.9 (95 %IC 0.8-1). Bayesian positive and negative likelihood ratios were 14.5 and 0.13, respectively. FDG PET/CT findings modified the therapeutic approach in 16 patients (modified therapy in 10 PET-positive patients, watch-and-wait in six PET-negative patients). PFS was significantly longer in patients with negative scan vs. those with pathological findings (85 % vs. 24 %, p < 0.05; HR = 12.4; p = 0.001). Moreover, an unremarkable study was associated with a longer OS (88 % vs. 47 % after 2 years and 87 % vs. 25 % after 3 years, respectively, p < 0.05). Standardized uptake value (SUV)max > 6 and total lesion glycolysis (TLG) > 8.5 were recognized as the most accurate thresholds to predict PFS (2-year PFS 62 % for SUVmax < 6 vs. 15 % for SUVmax > 6, p = 0.018; 2-year PFS 66 % for TLG < 8.5 vs. 18 % for TLG > 8.5, p = 0.09).


A very good diagnostic performance for FDG PET/CT was confirmed in patients with suspected recurrent BC. FDG PET/CT allowed for a change in treatment decision in about 40 % of cases and showed an important prognostic value in assessing PFS and OS.


Bladder cancer 18 F-FDG-PET/CT Restaging Prognostic role Clinical role 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Financial support

The authors disclosure of any personal or financial support for this multicenter study.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study formal consent is not required.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierpaolo Alongi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Federico Caobelli
    • 2
  • Roberta Gentile
    • 3
  • Alessandro Stefano
    • 4
  • Giorgio Russo
    • 4
  • Domenico Albano
    • 5
  • Sergio Baldari
    • 3
  • Maria Carla Gilardi
    • 4
  • Massimo Midiri
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Radiological Sciences, Nuclear Medicine UnitSan Raffaele G. Giglio InstituteCefalùItaly
  2. 2.Department of Nuclear MedicineBasel University HospitalBaselSwitzerland
  3. 3.Nuclear Medicine Unit, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Morphological and Functional ImagesUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly
  4. 4.IBFM-CNRCefalùItaly
  5. 5.DIBIMEF - Sezione di Scienze RadiologicheUniversità degli Studi di PalermoPalermoItaly

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