18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose positronemission tomography could have a prognostic role in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma

E. Simoneau, M. Hassanain, A. Madkhali, A. Salman, C.G. Nudo, P. Chaudhury, P. Metrakos



We set out to evaluate the prognostic value of 18Ffluorodeoxyglucose positron-emission tomography (pet) in patients with advanced (non-transplant-eligible) hepatocellular carcinoma (hcc) and to evaluate the correlation between standardized uptake values (suvs) and survival outcomes.


We identified patients with hcc who, from 2005 to 2013, underwent pet imaging before any treatment. This retrospective study from our hcc database obtained complete follow-up data for the 63 identified patients.


Of the 63 patients, 10 underwent surgical resection, and 59 underwent locoregional therapy. In this cohort, 28 patients were pet-positive (defined as any lesion with a suv ≥ 4.0) before any therapy was given, and 35 patients were pet negative (all lesions with a suv < 4.0). On survival analysis, median survival was greater for the pet-negative than for the pet-positive patients: 29 months (range: 16.3–41.1 months) versus 12 months (range: 4.0–22.1 months) respectively, p = 0.0241. The pet-positive patients more often had large tumours (≥5 cm), poor differentiation, and extrahepatic disease, reflecting more aggressive tumours. On multivariate analysis, only pet positivity was associated with poor survival (p = 0.049).


Compared with pet-positive patients, pet-negative patients with hcc experienced longer survival. Imaging by pet can be of value in early prognostication for patients with hcc, especially patients receiving locoregional therapy for whom pathologic tumour differentiation is rarely available. This potential role for pet requires further validation in a prospective study.


positron-emission tomography; hepatocellular carcinoma; prognosis; outcomes

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3747/co.21.1859

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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)