[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 25-Feb-2010
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Contact: Beth Bukata
bethb@astro.org
703-431-2332
American Society for Radiation Oncology

Pretreatment SUV associated with head and neck cancer treatment outcomes, may help decide treatment plans

The maximal standardized uptake value (called SUVmax) measured from FDG PET readings taken from the primary tumor in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma patients before treatment is a strong predictor of disease-specific survival, overall survival and disease-free survival, while pretreatment SUVmax for lymphodenopathy is strongly associated with distant metastasis, according to a study presented at the Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Symposium, sponsored by AHNS, ASCO, ASTRO and SNM. Since the head and neck area of the body is very rich in lymphatic drainage, it is common for head and neck cancer patients to also have lympahdenopathy, which is an enlarged neck lymph node. Researchers from the University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland and the University of Nevada at Reno School of Public health in Reno, Nev., conducted a retrospective study of 295 patients treated with IMRT, with 177 having FDG PET before treatment and having a record of SUVmax for either their primary tumor and/or lymphadenopathy (SUV-LN). "The findings of this study show that we may use SUV before treatment to personalize treatment approaches for some head and neck cancer patients since SUV has been shown to be associated with treatment outcomes," Min Yao, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and a radiation oncologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, said. "Higher SUV may mean more aggressive treatment approaches, and since we now know that SUV of the lymph node is associated with distant metastasis, those patients with high SUV-LN may need more aggressive systemic chemotherapy." The three-year distant metastasis-free survival and disease specific survival rates for all patients were both 78.8 percent and the disease free survival and overall survival rates were 63.95 and 67.4 percent, respectively. SUVmax of the primary tumor was found to be significantly associated with disease specific survival and overall survival and strongly associated with disease free survival. SUV-LN was significantly associated with distant metastasis, with the distant metastasis-free survival rate being 82.1 percent at three years when the SUV-LN was less than 11.3 and 63.4 percent when the SUV-LN was greater than 11.3.

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The abstract, "The Prognostic Significance of Pre-treatment SUV in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treated with IMRT," will be presented in the plenary session on Friday, February 26, 2010. To speak with one of the study authors, contact Beth Bukata or Nicole Napoli on February 25-26, 2010, in the press room at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa at 520-796-8228. You may also e-mail them at bethb@astro.org or nicolen@astro.org.

About the American Head and Neck Society

The American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) is the single largest organization in North America for the advancement of research and education in head and neck oncology. The purpose of the AHNS is to promote and advance the knowledge of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of neoplasms and other diseases of the head and neck; to promote and advance research in diseases of the head and neck; and to promote and advance the highest professional and ethical standards.

About the American Society of Clinical Oncology

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is the world's leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer. With more than 28,000 members, ASCO is committed to improving cancer care through scientific meetings, educational programs and peer-reviewed journals. For ASCO information and resources, visit www.asco.org. Patient-oriented cancer information is available at www.Cancer.Net.

About the American Society for Radiation Oncology

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) is the largest radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 10,000 members who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, biology and physics, the Society is dedicated to improving patient care through education, clinical practice, advancement of science and advocacy. For more information on radiation therapy, visit www.rtanswers.org. To learn more about ASTRO, visit www.astro.org.

About SNM—Advancing Molecular Imaging and Therapy SNM is an international scientific and medical organization dedicated to raising public awareness about what molecular imaging is and how it can help provide patients with the best health care possible. SNM members specialize in molecular imaging, a vital element of today's medical practice that adds an additional dimension to diagnosis, changing the way common and devastating diseases are understood and treated.

SNM's more than 17,000 members set the standard for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine practice by creating guidelines, sharing information through journals and meetings and leading advocacy on key issues that affect molecular imaging and therapy research and practice. For more information, visit http://www.snm.org.



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