That's the conclusion of a study from researchers at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India.
"The prognosis of pancreatic cancer following recurrence is very poor. However, prognostication based on FDG-PET has not been attempted yet," said lead study author Dr. Santhosh Sampath, a senior resident in the department of nuclear medicine. "An FDG-PET-based SUVmax cutoff less than 6.4 has high accuracy in predicting patients who may have relatively better prognosis."
FDG-PET/CT was performed on 42 patients with an average age of 54 years to evaluate recurrence following resection of pancreatic carcinoma. Increased FDG uptake was considered positive for recurrence.
Among those patients, 26 (62%) developed recurrence during the follow-up period, which ranged from two to 33 months. Local recurrence was noted in nine patients, local recurrence with distant metastases in eight, and lymph nodal/distant metastases in nine.
Ten of 12 patients with an SUVmax greater than 6.4 died during follow-up, compared with only one of 14 patients with an SUVmax less than 6.4. Disease-free survival, residual life survival, and overall survival also were lower in patients above the SUVmax of 6.4.
"The SUVmax cutoff of 6.4 may be used to filter patients who may respond very well to treatment," Sampath concluded. "However, we recommend any study group to use this approach to prove this in a clinical setting, and more efficient chemotherapy regimens are also needed for this."