PURPOSE: Approximately 20 to 40% of patients with surgically resected stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) will develop recurrent disease. Positron emission tomography (PET) with 2-[F] fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) is used often in staging NSCLC. We conducted this study to determine whether the preoperative maximum tumor standardized uptake value (SUVmax) was associated with recurrence in patients with resected stage I NSCLC. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We identified consecutive patients who underwent curative surgical resection for stage I NSCLC between 1999 and 2003 who had preoperative FDG-PET imaging. Patients were divided into two cohorts based on SUVmax above or below the median for the group. Recurrence rates were estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method and overall survival was analyzed as a secondary end point. RESULTS: Of 136 patients who met inclusion criteria, 77 (57%) had T1 and 59 (43%) had T2 tumors. The median follow-up time was 46 months and 32 patients had a disease recurrence. The median SUVmax was 5.5. The 5-year estimates of recurrence rates for patients with low and high SUVmax were 14% and 37%, respectively (p = 0.002), with 5-year overall survivals of 74% and 53%, respectively (p = 0.006). In multivariate analyses based on SUVmax, T-classification, age, and histology, high SUVmax was independently associated with recurrence (p = 0.002) and mortality (p = 0.041). CONCLUSION: High SUVmax (≥5.5) on preoperative FDG-PET is an independent predictor of relapse and death in resected stage I NSCLC. Prospective trials of adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with stage I NSCLC and high SUVmax should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-134
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Thoracic Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Early stage
  • Imaging
  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • PET
  • Prognosis
  • Stage I
  • Surgery outcomes


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