Purpose: The primary objective was to compare 3’-deoxy-3’-(18F) fluorothymidine (FLT) positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) uptake in 3 cohorts of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) patients: (1) pre-SBRT, (2) stable post-SBRT lung fibrosis, and (3) suspicious or proven local recurrence post-SBRT. The secondary objectives were to optimize FLT-PET imaging by comparing FLT uptake in respiratory-gated (4-dimensional) versus nongated (3-dimensional) FLT-PET scans. Methods: Patients with early-stage non-small cell lung cancer planned or treated with SBRT at the institution with radiographic findings of fibrosis or recurrence were eligible for the study. All patients underwent imaging with FLT-PET/CT before SBRT in cohort 1 and at fibrosis or recurrence in cohort 2 and 3, respectively. The planned sample size was 20 patients in each cohort, with 60 patients total. FLT-PET standardized uptake value (SUV) variables including SUVmax, SUVmean, SUVpeak, SUV50, and SUV95 were compared among the 3 cohorts using the Kruskal-Wallis test. The correlation of respiratory-gated and nongated FLT-PET SUV variables was performed using the Spearman correlation coefficient. Results: Forty-one patients were recruited for the study (20 in cohort 1, 16 in cohort 2, and 5 in cohort 3) between 2015 and 2019. The majority received a diagnosis of stage I lung cancer (86%), and the most common prescription was 48 Gy in 4 fractions (59%). Respiratory-gated FLT-PET was performed in 35 patients. The FLT SUV variables were well correlated between respiratory-gated and nongated scans (r = 0.8-1.0). The SUVpeak, SUVmean, and SUVmax were significantly lower in the fibrosis cohort compared with the recurrence and pretreatment cohorts. The SUV50 and SUV95 values in the recurrence cohort were statistically similar to the pretreatment cohort. Conclusions: FLT-PET/CT may be helpful in differentiating SBRT-related fibrosis from recurrence. Nongated FLT-PET/CT with reporting of SUVmax and SUV95 values is recommended.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging