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Logo of bmccancBioMed Centralsearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleBMC Cancer
BMC Cancer. 2012; 12: 162.
Published online 2012 May 2. doi:  10.1186/1471-2407-12-162
PMCID: PMC3418566

Early assessment by FDG-PET/CT of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors is predictive of disease course



We reported previously that 18F-2-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography/ computed tomography (FDG PET/CT) had potential for evaluating early response to treatment by tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC). This time we investigated the relation of the early assessment by FDG PET/CT to long-term prognosis with an expanded number of patients and period of observation.


Patients for whom TKI treatment for advanced RCC was planned were enrolled. FDG PET/CT was performed before TKI treatment and after one month of TKI treatment. The relations of the FDGPET/CT assessment to progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were investigated.


Thirty-five patients were enrolled (sunitinib 19 cases, sorafenib 16 cases). The patients with RCC showing high SUVmax in pretreatment FDG PET/CT demonstrated short PFS (P =0.024, hazard ratio 1.137, 95% CI 1.017-1.271) and short OS (P =0.004, hazard ratio 1.210 95% CI 1.062-1.379). Thirty patients (sunitinib 16 cases, sorafenib 14 cases) were evaluated again after 1 month. The PFS of the patients whose SUVmax decreased<20% was shorter than that of the patients whose SUVmax decreased<20% (P = 0.027, hazard ratio 3.043, 95% CI 1.134-8.167). The PFS of patients whose tumor diameter sum increased was shorter than that of the patient with tumors whose diameter sum did not (P =0.006, hazard ratio 4.555, 95% CI 1.543-13.448).

The patients were classified into three response groups: good responder (diameter sum did not increase, and SUVmax decreased  20%), intermediate responder (diameter sum did not increase, and SUVmax decreased<20%), and poor responder (diameter sum increased, or one or more new lesions appeared). The median PFS of good, intermediate, and poor responders were 458 ± 146 days, 131 ± 9 days, and 88 ± 26 days (good vs. intermediate P = 0.0366, intermediate vs. poor P = 0.0097, log-rank test). Additionally the mean OSs were 999 ± 70 days, 469 ± 34 days, and 374 ± 125 days, respectively (good vs. intermediate P = 0.0385, intermediate vs. poor P = 0.0305, log-rank test).


The evaluation of RCC response to TKI by tumor size and FDG uptake using FDG PET/CT after 1 month can predict PFS and OS.

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