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Original Investigation
May 14, 2014

Effect of PET Before Liver Resection on Surgical Management for Colorectal Adenocarcinoma Metastases: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Author Affiliations
  • 1University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2McMaster University, Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • 3Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Odette Cancer Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 4St Joseph’s Health Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 5London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, Canada
  • 6Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 7Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario at Kingston General Hospital, Kingston, Canada
  • 8Grand River Regional Cancer Centre, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
JAMA. 2014;311(18):1863-1869. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.3740
Abstract

Importance  Patients with colorectal cancer with liver metastases undergo hepatic resection with curative intent. Positron emission tomography combined with computed tomography (PET-CT) could help avoid noncurative surgery by identifying patients with occult metastases.

Objectives  To determine the effect of preoperative PET-CT vs no PET-CT (control) on the surgical management of patients with resectable metastases and to investigate the effect of PET-CT on survival and the association between the standardized uptake value (ratio of tissue radioactivity to injected radioactivity adjusted by weight) and survival.

Design, Setting, and Participants  A randomized trial of patients older than 18 years with colorectal cancer treated by surgery, with resectable metastases based on CT scans of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis within the previous 30 days, and with a clear colonoscopy within the previous 18 months was conducted between 2005 and 2013, involving 21 surgeons at 9 hospitals in Ontario, Canada, with PET-CT scanners at 5 academic institutions.

Interventions  Patients were randomized using a 2 to 1 ratio to PET-CT or control.

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary outcome was a change in surgical management defined as canceled hepatic surgery, more extensive hepatic surgery, or additional organ surgery based on the PET-CT. Survival was a secondary outcome.

Results  Of the 263 patients who underwent PET-CT, 21 had a change in surgical management (8.0%; 95% CI, 5.0%-11.9%). Specifically, 7 patients (2.7%) did not undergo laparotomy, 4 (1.5%) had more extensive hepatic surgery, 9 (3.4%) had additional organ surgery (8 of whom had hepatic resection), and the abdominal cavity was opened in 1 patient but hepatic surgery was not performed and the cavity was closed. Liver resection was performed in 91% of patients in the PET-CT group and 92% of the control group. After a median follow-up of 36 months, the estimated mortality rate was 11.13 (95% CI, 8.95-13.68) events/1000 person-months for the PET-CT group and 12.71 (95% CI, 9.40-16.80) events/1000 person-months for the control group. Survival did not differ between the 2 groups (hazard ratio, 0.86 [95% CI, 0.60-1.21]; P = .38). The standardized uptake value was associated with survival (hazard ratio, 1.11 [90% CI, 1.07-1.15] per unit increase; P < .001). The C statistic for the model including the standardized uptake value was 0.62 (95% CI, 0.56-0.68) and without it was 0.50 (95% CI, 0.44-0.56). The difference in C statistics is 0.12 (95% CI, 0.04-0.21). The low C statistic suggests that the standard uptake value is not a strong predictor of overall survival.

Conclusions and Relevance  Among patients with potentially resectable hepatic metastases of colorectal adenocarcinoma, the use of PET-CT compared with CT alone did not result in frequent change in surgical management. These findings raise questions about the value of PET-CT scans in this setting.

Trial Registration  clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00265356

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