Role of Non-FDG-PET/CT in Head and Neck Cancer.
Head and neck cancers are commonly encountered malignancies in the United States, of which the majority are attributed to squamous cell carcinoma. 18F-FDG-PET/CT has been well established in the evaluation, treatment planning, prognostic implications of these tumors and is routinely applied for the management of patients with these cancers. Many alternative investigational PET radiotracers have been extensively studied in the evaluation of these tumors. Although these radiotracers have not been able to replace 18F-FDG-PET/CT in routine clinical practice currently, they may provide important additional information about the biological mechanisms of these tumors, such as foci of tumor hypoxia as seen on hypoxia specific PET radiotracers such as 18F-Fluoromisonidazole (18F-FMISO), which could be useful in targeting radioresistant hypoxic tumor foci when treatment planning. There are multiple other hypoxia-specific PET radiotracers such as 18F-Fluoroazomycinarabinoside (FAZA), 18F-Flortanidazole (HX4), which have been evaluated similarly, of which 18F-Fluoromisonidazole (18F-FMISO) has been the most investigated. Other radiotracers frequently studied in the evaluation of these tumors include radiolabeled amino acid PET radiotracers, which show increased uptake in tumor cells with limited uptake in inflammatory tissue, which can be useful especially in differentiating postradiation inflammation from residual and/or recurrent disease. 18F-Fluorothymidine (FLT) is localized intracellularly by nucleoside transport and undergoes phosphorylation thereby being retained within tumor cells and can serve as an indicator of tumor proliferation. Decrease in radiotracer activity following treatment can be an early indicator of treatment response. This review aims at synthesizing the available literature on the most studied non-FDG-PET/CT in head and neck cancer.
Marcus, C; Subramaniam, RM
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