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3′-Deoxy-3′-18F-Fluorothymidine PET and MRI for Early Survival Predictions in Patients with Recurrent Malignant Glioma Treated with Bevacizumab



With the dismal prognosis for malignant glioma patients, survival predictions become key elements in patient management. This study compares the value of 3'-deoxy-3'-(18)F-fluorothymidine ((18)F-FLT) PET and MRI for early outcome predictions in patients with recurrent malignant glioma on bevacizumab therapy.


Thirty patients treated with bevacizumab combination therapy underwent (18)F-FLT PET immediately before and at 2 and 6 wk after the start of treatment. A metabolic treatment response was defined as a decrease of equal to or greater than 25% in tumor (18)F-FLT uptake (standardized uptake values) from baseline using receiver-operating-characteristic analysis. MRI treatment response was assessed at 6 wk according to the Response Assessment in Neurooncology criteria. (18)F-FLT responses at different times were compared with MRI response and correlated with progression-free survival and overall survival using Kaplan-Meier analysis. Metabolic response based on (18)F-FLT was further compared with other outcome predictors using Cox regression analysis.


Early and late changes in tumor (18)F-FLT uptake were more predictive of overall survival than MRI criteria (P < 0.001 and P = 0.01, respectively). (18)F-FLT uptake changes were also predictive of progression-free survival (P < 0.001). The median overall survival for responders was 3.3 times longer than for nonresponders based on (18)F-FLT PET criteria (12.5 vs. 3.8 mo, P < 0.001) but only 1.4 times longer using MRI assessment (12.9 vs. 9.0 mo, P = 0.05). On the basis of the 6-wk (18)F-FLT PET response, there were 16 responders (53%) and 14 nonresponders (47%), whereas MRI identified 9 responders (7 partial response, 2 complete response, 31%) and 20 nonresponders (13 stable disease, 7 progressive disease, 69%). In 7 of the 8 discrepant cases between MRI and PET, (18)F-FLT PET was able to demonstrate response earlier than MRI. Among various outcome predictors, multivariate analysis identified (18)F-FLT PET changes at 6 wk as the strongest independent survival predictor (P < 0.001; hazard ratio, 10.051).


Changes in tumor (18)F-FLT uptake were highly predictive of progression-free and overall survival in patients with recurrent malignant glioma on bevacizumab therapy. (18)F-FLT PET seems to be more predictive than MRI for early treatment response.

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