The role of gamma-PET in the evaluation of patients with recurrent squamous cell cancer of the head and neck

E. Goshen, R. Yahalom, Y. P. Talmi, G. Rotenberg, Y. Oksman, S. T. Zwas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the most common cancer of the head and neck (HNC). Advanced HNC warrants extensive ablative and reconstructive procedures, significantly altering locoregional anatomy, while radiation treatment further adds to the distortion. Anatomic imaging is therefore often inconclusive in suspected recurrent HNC. Functional imaging with fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) has been reported contributory in the evaluation of patients with SCC. While most reports are from dedicated PET systems, full ring PET is of limited availability and gamma-PET may offer a suitable compromise. The therapeutic impact of gamma-PET in patients with suspected recurrent HNC was retrospectively evaluated. Seventeen patien ts were evaluated. All had undergone surgery for HNC, 16 also received radiotherapy. gamma-PET scans were compared to anatomic imaging, histopathology and clinical follow-up. The impact of the FDG-PET scan on patient management was then evaluated. Eleven positive findings were confirmed. Two false positives were due to radiation changes, a recognized pitfall. There were no false negatives. Overall accuracy of the 18F-FDG gamma-PET scans was 88% with considerable effect on patient management. Gamma-PET with FDG appears valuable in the evaluation of suspected recurrent HNC, and may provide a suitable alternative when dedicated PET is unavailable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-390
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Gamma-PET
  • Head and neck
  • Squamous cell carcinoma


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