18F-FDG Metabolic Tumor Volume: Association with Short- and Long-Term Feeding Tube Use in Head and Neck IMRT

James E. Jackson, Nigel J. Anderson, Maureen Rolfo, Morikatsu Wada, Michal Schneider, Michael Poulsen, Maziar Fahandej, Anna Huynh, Sze Ting Lee, Daryl Lim Joon, Vincent Khoo

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The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the metabolic tumor volume (MTV) of head and neck primary tumors may be a significant prognostic factor for feeding tube (FT) use and FT dependence. Seventy-nine patients with evaluable primary tumors, pre-therapy FDG-PET scans, treated with definitive intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) (± concurrent chemotherapy) for head and neck mucosal cancers were included. MTV was quantified and recorded for the primary lesion using a minimum standardized uptake value (SUV) threshold of 2.0. Patients were recommended prophylactic FT and followed up by a dietician for at least eight weeks of post-radiotherapy. Associations between MTV, dose to swallowing organs at risk, FT use, and FT dependence were analyzed. MTV was positively correlated with gross tumor volume (GTV) (r = 0.7357; p < 0.0001). MTVs larger than 17 cc were associated with higher rates of FT use (87.8% vs. 69.5%, p = 0.0067) and FT dependence at six weeks (76.7% vs. 41.7%, p = 0.0024) and six months (25.0% vs. 8.7%, p = 0.0088). Increasing MTV was associated with increasing mean dose to the oral cavity (p = < 0.0001), tongue base (p = 0.0009), and superior (SPCM) (p = 0.0001) and middle pharyngeal constrictor muscles (MPCM) (p = 0.0005). Increasing MTV was associated with increasing maximum dose to oral cavity (p = 0.0028), tongue base (p = 0.0056), SPCM (p = 0.0037), and MPCM (p = 0.0085). Pre-treatment MTV is a reproducible parameter that can be generated at or prior to a pre-treatment Multidisciplinary Tumor Board and may expedite decisions regarding placement of prophylactic FTs. Prospective evaluation in larger series is required to determine whether MTV is a more useful prognostic variable for FT use than clinical T-classification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-349
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Enteral nutrition
  • Head & neck neoplasms
  • Positron-emission tomography
  • Radiotherapy
  • Toxicity

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