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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


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 - 15 Jun 2019


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