Changes in multimodality functional imaging parameters early during chemoradiation predict treatment response in patients with locally advanced head and neck cancer.
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OBJECTIVE: To assess the optimal timing and predictive value of early intra-treatment changes in multimodality functional and molecular imaging (FMI) parameters as biomarkers for clinical remission in patients receiving chemoradiation for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). METHODS: Thirty-five patients with stage III-IVb (AJCC 7th edition) HNSCC prospectively underwent 18F-FDG-PET/CT, and diffusion-weighted (DW), dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) and susceptibility-weighted MRI at baseline, week 1 and week 2 of chemoradiation. Patients with evidence of persistent or recurrent disease during follow-up were classed as non-responders. Changes in FMI parameters at week 1 and week 2 were compared between responders and non-responders with the Mann-Whitney U test. The significance threshold was set at a p value of <0.05. RESULTS: There were 27 responders and 8 non-responders. Responders showed a greater reduction in PET-derived tumor total lesion glycolysis (TLG40%; p = 0.007) and maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax; p = 0.034) after week 1 than non-responders but these differences were absent by week 2. In contrast, it was not until week 2 that MRI-derived parameters were able to discriminate between the two groups: larger fractional increases in primary tumor apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC; p < 0.001), volume transfer constant (Ktrans; p = 0.012) and interstitial space volume fraction (Ve; p = 0.047) were observed in responders versus non-responders. ADC was the most powerful predictor (∆ >17%, AUC 0.937). CONCLUSION: Early intra-treatment changes in FDG-PET, DW and DCE MRI-derived parameters are predictive of ultimate response to chemoradiation in HNSCC. However, the optimal timing for assessment with FDG-PET parameters (week 1) differed from MRI parameters (week 2). This highlighted the importance of scanning time points for the design of FMI risk-stratified interventional studies.
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Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
Translational Molecular Imaging
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Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging, 45 (5), pp. 759 - 767