Purpose: We aimed to investigate the role of FDG-PET/CT in monitoring of response and immune-related adverse events (irAEs) following first-line combination-immune checkpoint inhibitor (combination-ICI) therapy for advanced melanoma. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed outcomes in patients who had (1) first-line nivolumab plus ipilimumab; (2) pre- and post-treatment FDG-PET/CT scans (pre-FDG-PET/CT and post-FDG-PET/CT) within 2 and 4 months of starting ICI, respectively; and (3) at least one lesion assessable by PET response criteria in solid tumors (PERCIST). Extracranial response was monitored by 3 monthly FDG-PET/CT. Whole-body metabolic tumor volume (wbMTV) was measured pre- and post-treatment and correlated with outcome. FDG-PET/CT manifestations of irAE were defined as new increased non-tumoral uptake on post-FDG-PET/CT and were correlated with clinical presentation. Results: Thirty-one consecutive patients, median age 60 years (range, 30–78), were identified from 2016 to 2018. The median number of combination-ICI cycles to the first post-FDG-PET/CT response assessment was 3 (interquartile range (IQR), 2–4). The best-overall responses were complete metabolic response (CMR) in 25 (80%), partial metabolic response (PMR) in 3 (10%), and progressive metabolic disease (PMD) in 3 (10%) patients. Patients with PMD had significantly higher pre-treatment wbMTV (p = 0.009). At a median follow-up of 21.5 months, 26 (84%) patients were alive with median progression-free and overall survival not reached. Secondary progression occurred in 9/31 (29%) patients at a median of 8.2 months (IQR, 6.9–15.5), of those majority (78%) was detected by FDG-PET/CT. Of 36 findings on post-FDG-PET/CT suggestive of irAE, 29 (80%) had clinical confirmation. In 3 (7%), the FDG-PET/CT findings preceded clinical presentation. The most common FDG-PET/CT detectable irAEs were endocrinopathies (36%) and enterocolitis (35%). Conclusion: FDG-PET/CT response evaluation predicts the long-term outcome of patients treated with first-line combination-ICIs. Long-term treatment response monitoring for detection of extracranial secondary progression is feasible by FDG-PET/CT. Beyond response assessment, FDG-PET/CT frequently detects clinically relevant irAEs, which may involve multiple systems contemporaneously or at various time-points and may precede clinical diagnosis.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging|
|State||Published - Nov 1 2020|
- Combination immunotherapy
- Immune-related adverse event
- Ipilimumab and nivolumab
- Response assessment