Post-treatment 18 F-FDG-PET/CT versus contrast-enhanced CT in patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma: Comparative effectiveness study

Mehdi Taghipour, Esther Mena, Matthew J. Kruse, Sara Sheikhbahaei, Rathan M. Subramaniam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective To compare the accuracy of same-day therapy-assessment PET/computed tomography (PET/CT) and conventional contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CECT) in patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC). Methods A total of 110 (95 men and 15 women; mean age 59 years) patients with biopsy-proven OPSCC were evaluated with same-day PET/CT and CECT pair scans as part of follow-up therapy assessment. Scans were performed within 6 months after the completion of primary treatment (median time: 3.1 months; range: 0.5-6 months). PET/CT and CECT scans were reviewed retrospectively for residual primary site disease, and right and left cervical lymph node involvement. Histopathology or 6 month clinical/imaging follow-up were used as the gold standard. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), and accuracy were calculated for the primary site and cervical nodal disease. Results Of 110 OPSCC patients, 90.9% were human papilloma virus positive, 80.8% were stage 4, and 76.4% received chemoradiation as the primary treatment. The sensitivity, specificity, PPV, NPV, and accuracy of PET/CT and CECT were similar in the evaluation of the primary cancer site (PET/CT: 75.0, 91.5, 25.0, 99.0, and 90.9, respectively, versus CECT: 75.0, 90.6, 23.1, 99.0, and 90.0, respectively). In evaluating cervical lymph node involvement, PET/CT appeared to have higher accuracy (96.8 vs. 81.7%), specificity (97.7 vs. 81.7%), and PPV (45.8 vs. 16.5%), comparable NPV (99.4% for both), and lower sensitivity (65 vs. 75%) compared with same-day CECT. Conclusion Same-day PET/CT and CECT scans had comparable accuracy in the evaluation of primary tumor sites after completion of therapy in patients with OPSCC. PET/CT showed higher accuracy in the evaluation of cervical lymph node involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-258
Number of pages9
JournalNuclear Medicine Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017


  • contrast-enhanced computed tomography
  • oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma
  • positron emission tomography/computed tomography
  • post-treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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