This prospective study aims to determine the impact of PET/CT on radiotherapy planning and outcomes in patients with oesophageal cancer.
All patients underwent PET/CT scanning in the radiotherapy treatment position, and received treatment planned using the PET/CT dataset. GTV was defined separately on PET/CT (GTV-PET) and CT (GTV-CT) datasets. A corresponding PTV was generated for each patient. Volumetric and spatial analysis quantified the proportion of FDG-avid disease not included in CT-based volumes. Clinical data was collected to determine locoregional control and overall survival rates.
13 (24.1%) of 57 accrued patients had metastatic disease detected on PET. Median follow up was 4 years. FDG-avid disease would have been excluded from GTV-CT in 29 of 38 patients (76%). In 5 patients, FDG-avid disease would have been completely excluded from the PTV-CT. GTV-CT underestimated the cranial and caudal extent of FDG-avid tumour in 14 (36%) and 10 (26%) patients. 4-Year overall survival and locoregional failure free survival were 37% and 65%.
PET/CT altered the delineation of tumour volumes when compared to CT alone, and should be considered standard for treatment planning. Although clinical outcomes were not improved with PET/CT planning, it did allow the use of smaller radiotherapy volumes.