PET/CT in the evaluation of patients with squamous cell cancer of the head and neck

Elinor Goshen*, T. Davidson, R. Yahalom, Y. P. Talmi, S. T. Zwas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to compare the findings of positron emission tomography (PET) with fused PET and computed tomography (CT) in patients with suspected locoregional and distant head and neck cancer and to evaluate the impact of those findings on clinical management. Studies of 25 patients were retrospectively evaluated. PET findings were classified as malignant, benign or equivocal. PET/CT findings were then similarly classified and the PET-only results were amended accordingly. Comparison of findings was done on lesion and patient levels. A total of 45 foci of increased 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) uptake were noted in 18 patients. PET/CT imaging defined anatomic localization of 41/45 lesions and clarified 6/10 equivocal PET findings. Additional information was provided by PET/CT regarding 9/45 (20%) of the lesions. PET/CT significantly affected patient management in 3/25 patients (12%) by limiting the extent of disease in one and excluding viable disease in two others. The accuracy of PET/CT was 88%, the sensitivity 100% and the specificity was 77%. The negative predictive value was 100% in this combined group of patients with locoregional and distant head and neck cancer. PET/CT is highly contributory for initial staging and in the evaluation of patients with suspected recurrent SCC of the head and neck, in whom anatomic imaging is inconclusive due to the locoregional distortions rendered by surgery and radiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-336
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Head and neck
  • PET/CT
  • Squamous cell carcinoma


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