SUV<sub>max</sub> values at FDG PET-CT to predict malignancy in lymph nodes aspirated by real time image fused USgFNAC in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.


18F-fluordeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography combined with computed tomography (PET-CT) and ultrasound guided fine-needle aspiration cytology (USgFNAC) are commonly used to detect nodal metastases in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). FDG PET-CT helps to guide selection of borderline suspicious nodes to aspirate using USgFNAC. Real time image fusion of FDG PET-CT with US is a new available technique and can improve this selection. The aim of this study was to determine optimal SUVmax values for USgFNAC node selection to improve USgFNAC sensitivity. 118 patients, with histopathological proven HNSCC or proven lymph nodes metastases of SCC of unknown primary, referred for staging of HNSCC with FDG PET-CT and ultrasound, were prospectively included. Additionally to standard USgFNAC of suspicious nodes fusion was performed to confirm that USgFNAC took place in FDG-positive nodes and to add Fused-USgFNAC in missed FDG-positive nodes. Fusion was performed on nodes with reported having metabolic activity. SUVmax values were measured in all Fused-USgFNAC nodes. The reference standard was cytology. In 118 patients USgFNAC was performed in 281 nodes. At fusion 22/281 (8%) nodes were FDG-negative. Out of 259 FDG-positive nodes 253 (98%) nodes were fused successfully. USgFNAC had conclusive results in 237/253 nodes (94%). In 126/237 nodes (53%) cytology proved to be tumor positive. Below SUVmax of 2.87 no fused FDG-positive nodes proved to be tumor positive at cytology. To improve sensitivity, only FDG-positive nodes with SUVmax values above 2.87 should be selected for USgFNAC. Image fusion can identify those nodes for USgFNAC selection.

More about this publication

American journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging
  • Volume 11
  • Issue nr. 3
  • Pages 178-187
  • Publication date 09-07-2021

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