Clinical Significance of [18F] Fluoro-2-Deoxy-D-Glucose/Computed Tomographic Avid Hilar Lymph Nodes in Esophageal Carcinoma Patients

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Abstract

Background: The assumption that increased [18F] fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) uptake in hilar nodes on positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) imaging is indicative of distant metastasis can result in palliative rather than curative care in patients with esophageal cancer. This study aimed to determine the significance of increased FDG uptake in hilar nodes in patients with potentially curable, locally advanced disease at initial staging. Methods: We included patients with biopsy specimen-proven esophageal carcinoma who had pretreatment FDG-PET/CT at initial staging and follow-up imaging >1 year. We excluded patients with distant hematogeneous metastases. Hilar nodes were considered concerning for metastatic disease when the maximum standardized uptake value was >2.5 or FDG uptake was visually greater than the mediastinal background. Results: We reviewed FDG-PET CT scans from 806 patients treated for esophageal cancer from 2010 to 2018 and identified 42 patients with FDG-avid hilar adenopathy. Thirteen patients underwent histologic assessment, and 29 were monitored with imaging. None of the 42 patients had distant metastatic disease on the initial workup, and all were treated curatively. In follow-up, 2 of 42 patients eventually manifested hilar nodal metastases after treatment; 1 who had a biopsy specimen-negative hilar node at initial staging and another who did not have a biopsy of the hilar node. Conclusions: Increased FDG uptake in hilar nodes in patients with localized esophageal cancer was not indicative of nonregional nodal metastasis. Patients in these situations should be approached with curative intent. The need for biopsy of FDG-avid hilar nodes in this cohort should be carefully considered due to the low diagnostic utility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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