A preliminary report on the impact of 18F-FDG PET/CT in the management of paediatric head and neck cancer Academic Article uri icon


  • INTRODUCTION: Paediatric head and neck malignancy accounts for 5% of all paediatric cancers. The choice of treatment and prediction of prognosis depend on the histological type of tumour, initial staging, evaluating treatment response and detection of early recurrence. Conventional imaging modalities have many limitations. Positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) is more accurate; however, so far, the literature lacks reports of large groups of paediatric patients. AIM: To report the role of PET/CT in factors affecting the choice of treatment at the newly established Children Cancer Hospital in Cairo, Egypt, which is one of the busiest dedicated paediatric oncology centres in the world. All findings were proven by histopathology, radiology and by clinical follow-up. PATIENT POPULATION: Thirty-six paediatric patients (30 boys and six girls) with various histologically proven head and neck cancers were included in this study. Their age ranged from 2 to 17 years. High-resolution diagnostic CT and/or MRI of the head and neck, and in relevant cases also of the chest and the abdomen, were performed in all patients at a mean interval of 1.6 weeks (range, 1-3 months) before the PET/CT study. Results of PET/CT were compared with the findings of these conventional imaging modalities. RESULTS: The sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, positive and negative predictive values of PET/CT against the conventional imaging were as follows: sensitivity 100 and, 53%, specificity 89.5 and 47%, accuracy 94.5 and 50%, positive predictive value 89.5 and 47% and negative predictive value 100 and 53% respectively. PET/CT changed patient management in 50% of the cases. CONCLUSION: PET/CT in paediatric head and neck carcinoma is more accurate than conventional imaging. Therefore, it also has a significant impact on further patient management. We recommend that it should be the first imaging modality for all purposes in initial staging, evaluating treatment response and follow-up in paediatric head and neck carcinoma.


  • Boktor, Raef Riad
  • Omar, Walid S
  • Mousa, Emad
  • Attia, Iman
  • Refaat, Amal
  • ElTawdy, Magdy Hafez
  • Pitman, Alexander Gregory
  • Abdel-Dayem, Hussein Mohamed

publication date

  • January 2012

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