JCO this week:
An interesting retrospective series from Wake Forest examines the potential role of PET in prediction and prognosis in Esophageal cancer. In this series, outcomes of patients treated with trimodality therapy (CT, RT, and surgery) did reasonably well regardless of PET response, but in the definitive CTRT group, PET-CR predicted a large difference in survival and local control. The question now is whether PET can be used to select patients that would benefit from surgery, after completing a course of CTRT, which could potentially spare up to a 1/3 of patient a potentially morbid intervention.
Link and Abstract:
Outcomes of Patients With Esophageal Cancer Staged With [18F]Fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography (FDG-PET): Can Postchemoradiotherapy FDG-PET Predict the Utility of Resection? [Gastrointestinal Cancer]: "Purpose
To determine whether [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) can delineate patients with esophageal cancer who may not benefit from esophagectomy after chemoradiotherapy.
Patients and Methods
Patients and Methods
We reviewed records of 163 patients with histologically confirmed stage I to IVA esophageal cancer receiving chemoradiotherapy with or without resection with curative intent. All patients received surgical evaluation. Initial and postchemoradiotherapy FDG-PET scans and prognostic/treatment variables were analyzed. FDG-PET complete response (PET-CR) after chemoradiotherapy was defined as standardized uptake value ≤ 3.
Eighty-eight patients received trimodality therapy and 75 received chemoradiotherapy. Surgery was deferred primarily due to medical inoperability or unresectable/metastatic disease after chemoradiotherapy. A total of 105 patients were evaluable for postchemoradiotherapy FDG-PET response. Thirty-one percent achieved a PET-CR. PET-CR predicted for improved outcomes for chemoradiotherapy (2-year overall survival, 71% v 11%, P < .01; 2-year freedom from local failure [LFF], 75% v 28%, P < .01), but not trimodality therapy. On multivariate analysis of patients treated with chemoradiotherapy, PET-CR is the strongest independent prognostic variable (survival hazard ratio [HR], 9.82, P < .01; LFF HR, 14.13, P < .01). PET-CR predicted for improved outcomes regardless of histology, although patients with adenocarcinoma achieved a PET-CR less often.
Patients treated with trimodality therapy found no benefit with PET-CR, likely because FDG-PET residual disease was resected. Definitive chemoradiotherapy patients achieving PET-CR had excellent outcomes equivalent to trimodality therapy despite poorer baseline characteristics. Patients who achieve a PET-CR may not benefit from added resection given their excellent outcomes without resection. These results should be validated in a prospective trial of FDG-PET–directed therapy for esophageal cancer.