Tumor hypoxia imaging with [F-18] fluoromisonidazole positron emission tomography in head and neck cancer

Joseph G. Rajendran, David L. Schwartz, Janet O'Sullivan, Lanell M. Peterson, Patrick Ng, Jeffrey Scharnhorst, John R. Grierson, Kenneth A. Krohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

314 Scopus citations


Purpose: Advanced head and neck cancer shows hypoxia that results in biological changes to make the tumor cells more aggressive and less responsive to treatment resulting in poor survival. [F-18] fluoromisonidazole (FMISO) positron emission tomography (PET) has the ability to noninvasively quantify regional hypoxia. We investigated the prognostic effect of pretherapy FMISO-PET on survival in head and neck cancer. Experimental Design: Seventy-three patients with head and neck cancer had pretherapy FMISO-PET and 53 also had fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET under a research protocol from April 1994 to April 2004. Results: Significant hypoxia was identified in 58 patients (79%). The mean FMISO tumor/bloodmax (T/Bmax) was 1.6 and the mean hypoxic volume (HV) was 40.2 mL. There were 28 deaths in the follow-up period. Mean FDG standard uptake value (SUV)max was 10.8. The median time for follow-up was 72 weeks. In a univariate analysis, T/Bmax (P = 0.002), HV (P = 0.04), and the presence of nodes (P = 0.01) were strong independent predictors. In a multivariate analysis, including FDG SUV max, no variable was predictive at P < 0.05. When FDG SUV max was removed from the model (resulting in n = 73 with 28 events), nodal status and T/Bmax (or HV) were both highly predictive (P = 0.02,0.006 for node and T/Bmax, respectively; P = 0.02 and 0.001 for node and HV, respectively). Conclusions: Pretherapy FMISO uptake shows a strong trend to be an independent prognostic measure in head and neck cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5435-5441
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 15 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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