Value of FDG PET/Contrast-Enhanced CT in Initial Staging of Colorectal Cancer - Comparison with Contrast-Enhanced CT


National Cyclotron and PET Centre, Division of Nuclear Medicine, Chulabhorn Hospital, Thailand


Background FDG PET/CT is at an equivocal stage to recommend for staging of colorectal cancer as compared to contrast-enhanced CT (ceCT). This study was intended to evaluate the value of FDG PET/ceCT in colorectal cancer staging as compared to ceCT alone. Materials and Methods PET/ceCT was performed for 61 colorectal cancer patients who were prospectively enrolled in the study. Three patients were excluded due to loss to follow-up. PET/ceCT ndings and ceCT results alone were read seperately. The treatment planning was then determined by tumor board consensus. The criteria for T staging were determined by the ndings of ceCT. Nodal positive by PET/ceCT imaging was determined by visual analysis of FDG uptake greater than regional background blood pool activity. The diagnostic accuracy of T and N staging was determined only in patients who received surgery without any neoadjuvant treatment. Results Of 58 patients, there were 40 with colon cancers including sigmoid cancers and 18 with rectal cancers. PET/ceCT in pre-operative staging detected bone metastasis and metastatic inguinal lymph nodes (M1a) that were undepicted on CT in 2 patients (3%), clearly de ned 19 equivocal lesions on ceCT in 18 patients (31%) and excluded 6 metastatic lesions diagnosed by ceCT in 6 patients (10%). These resulted in alteration of management plan in 15 out of the 58 cases (26%) i.e. changing from chemotherapy to surgery (4), changing extent of surgery (9) and avoidance of futile surgery (2). Forty four patients underwent surgery within 45 days after PET/CT. The diagnostic accuracy for N staging with PET/ceCT and ceCT alone was 66% and 48% with false positive rates of 24% (6/25) and 76% (19/25) and false negative rates of 47% (9/19) and 21% (4/19), respectively. All of the false negative lymph nodes from PET/ceCT were less than a centimeter in size and located in peri-lesional regions. The diagnostic accuracy for T staging was 82%. The sensitivity of the peri-lesional fat stranding sign in determining T3 stage was 94% and the speci city was 54%. Conclusions Our study suggested promising roles of PET/ceCT in initial staging of colorectal cancer with better diagnostic accuracy facilitating management planning.