BACKGROUND: [18F]FDG-PET/CT imaging is broadly used in head and neck cancer (HNSCC) patients. CT perfusion (CTP) is known to provide information about angiogenesis and blood-flow characteristics in tumors. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential relationship of FDG-parameters and CTP-parameters in HNSCC preand post-therapy and the potential prognostic value of a combined PET/CT with CTP.
METHODS: Thirteen patients with histologic proven HNSCC were prospectively included. All patients underwent a combined PET/CT with integrated CTP before and after therapy. Pre- and post-therapeutic data of CTP and PET of the tumors were compared. Differences were tested using Spearman's rho test and Pearson's correlation. A p-value of p <0.05 was considered statistically significant. Correlations were calculated using Pearson's correlation. Bootstrap confidence intervals were calculated to test for additive confidence intervals.
RESULTS: Three patients died due to malignancy recurrence, ten patients were free of recurrence until the end of the follow-up period. Patients with recurrent disease had significantly higher initial CTP-values compared to the recurrence-free patients: BFpre 267.4 (171.2)ml/100 mg/min, BVpre 40.9 (8.4)ml/100 mg and MTTpre 8.2 (6.1)sec. No higher SUVs initially but significantly higher TLG compared to patients without recurrence were found. Post-therapeutic PET-values differed significantly between the two groups: SUVmaxpost 6.0 (3.2), SUVmeanpost 3.6 (2.0) and TLG 21751.7 (29794.0).
CONCLUSION: In our proof of concept study, combined PET/CT with integrated CTP might show complementary prognostic data pre- and post chemo-radiotherapy. CTP may be used to predict local tumor recurrence, while FDGPET/CT is still needed for whole-body staging.