ABSTRACT Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the use of 18FDG-PET/CT in staging procedure, the pattern of failure and survival in patients with small-cell lung cancer limited disease (LD-SCLC) undergoing chemo-radiotherapy. Methods: A total of 79 LD-SCLC patients were treated with a combination of chemotherapy and chest radiotherapy. Radiotherapy of the tumour and the pathological lymph nodes was performed either as 45 Gy twice-daily or 46 - 50 Gy once-daily. 18Fluro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (18FDG)-PET/CT was performed in 35 patients as part of the staging procedure. Results: With a median follow-up time of 17 months 6% developed isolated loco-regional failures while 57% developed distant metastases. No isolated regional failures were seen. Median overall survival was 22 months. Patients staged with a 18FDG-PET/CT had a significantly lower incidence of distant failures and a significantly improved overall survival compared with patients only staged with a CT scan (p = 0.03) (median overall survival of 34 versus 17 months, respectively). Conclusion: The pattern of failure showed a high risk of distant metastases but a low incidence of isolated loco-regional failures. Patients staged with an 18FDG-PET/CT had a significantly lower incidence of distant failures and better overall survival, indicating that 18FDG-PET could be beneficial in patients with LD-SCLC before deciding on treatment regimen.
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