FDG-PET/CT in the evaluation of anal carcinoma

Shane E. Cotter, Perry W. Grigsby, Barry A. Siegel, Farrokh Dehdashti, Robert S. Malyapa, James W. Fleshman, Elisa H. Birnbaum, Xia Wang, Elliot Abbey, Benjamin Tan, Ira J. Kodner, Steven R. Hunt, Jennifer K. Lowney, Matthew G. Mutch, David W. Dietz, Robert J. Myerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


Purpose: Surgical staging and treatment of anal carcinoma has been replaced by noninvasive staging studies and combined modality therapy. In this study, we compare computed tomography (CT) and physical examination to [18F]-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT) in the staging of carcinoma of the anal canal, with special emphasis on determination of spread to inguinal lymph nodes. Methods and Materials: Between July 2003 and July 2005, 41 consecutive patients with biopsy-proved anal carcinoma underwent a complete staging evaluation including physical examination, CT, and 2-FDG-PET/CT. Patients ranged in age from 30 to 89 years. Nine men were HIV-positive. Treatment was with standard Nigro regimen. Results: [18F]-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT) detected 91% of nonexcised primary tumors, whereas CT visualized 59%. FDG-PET/CT detected abnormal uptake in pelvic nodes of 5 patients with normal pelvic CT scans. FDG-PET/CT detected abnormal nodes in 20% of groins that were normal by CT, and in 23% without abnormality on physical examination. Furthermore, 17% of groins negative by both CT and physical examination showed abnormal uptake on FDG-PET/CT. HIV-positive patients had an increased frequency of PET-positive lymph nodes. Conclusion: [18F]-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography detects the primary tumor more often than CT. FDG-PET/CT detects substantially more abnormal inguinal lymph nodes than are identified by standard clinical staging with CT and physical examination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)720-725
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006


  • Anal carcinoma
  • Computed tomography


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