Source Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Division of Nuclear Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea Division of Gastroenterology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea Yonsei Liver Cancer Special Clinic, Severance Hosptial, Seoul, Korea Division of Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei Cancer Center, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Background: Sorafenib (Nexavar) is an orally active multikinase inhibitor that is approved for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this study, we used (18) F-2-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose ((18) F-FDG) with positron emission tomography (PET) to predict the treatment outcome of sorafenib in patients with advanced HCC.
Materials and methods: A total of 29 patients with HCC were included. Baseline (18) F-FDG PET scans were performed a median of 14 days before sorafenib treatment. Sorafenib was administered orally at a dose of 400 mg twice daily. For statistical analysis, the standardized uptake value (SUV) of the most hypermetabolic lesion was obtained and assigned as the SUVmax for each patient.
Results: Among 29 patients, one patient achieved partial remission and 14 patients showed stable disease. The overall survival (OS) and progression free survival (PFS) were 5.1 months [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.0-12.0] and 3.8 months (95% CI: 1.4-6.2). The multivariate analysis of OS showed that four indices, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status, α-fetoprotein (AFP) concentration, portal vein thrombosis and SUVmax were significant prognostic factors (P=0.030, P=0.024, P=0.020 and P=0.015 respectively). AFP concentration and SUVmax were independent prognostic factors for PFS, too (P=0.003 and P=0.026 respectively). When the patients were divided into two groups: low SUVmax (n=10; <5.00) and high SUVmax (n=19;≥5.00), the low SUV group showed significantly longer OS and PFS (P=0.023 and P=0.042 respectively).
Conclusion: Our study showed that the degree of FDG uptake is an independent prognostic factor in patients with HCC who undergo sorafenib treatment.