Comparison between 18F-FDG-PET- and CT-based criteria in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients treated with Nivolumab

Giovanni Rossi, Matteo Bauckneht, Carlo Genova, Erika Rijavec, Federica Biello, Simone Mennella, Maria Giovanna Dal Bello, Giuseppe Cittadini, Paolo Bruzzi, Roberta Piva, Valentina Ceriani, Gianmario Sambuceti, Egesta Lopci, Silvia Morbelli, Francesco Grossi

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Due to their peculiar mechanism of action, the evaluation of radiological response to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) presents many challenges in solid tumors. We aimed to compare the evaluation of first response to Nivolumab by means of CT-based criteria with respect to fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) response criteria in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Methods: 72 patients with advanced NSCLC were recruited in a mono-institutional ancillary trial within the expanded access program (EAP; NCT02475382) for Nivolumab. Patients underwent CT scan and FDG-PET at baseline and after 4 cycles (first evaluation). In case of progressive disease (PD), an additional evaluation was performed after two further cycles in order to confirm progression. We evaluated the response to treatment with CT scan by means of response evaluation criteria in solid tumors (RECIST) 1.1 and Immuno-related Response Criteria (IrRC) and with FDG-PET by means of PERCIST and immunotherapy-modified-PERCIST (imPERCIST) criteria. The concordance between CT- and PET-based criteria and the capability of each method to predict overall survival (OS) were evaluated. Results: 48/72 patients were evaluable for first response assessment with both PET- and CT-based criteria. We observed low concordance between CT- and PET-based criteria (Kappa value of 0.346 and 0.355 and Kappa value of 0.128 and 0.198 between PERCIST and imPERCIST versus RECIST and irRC respectively). Looking at OS, IrRC were more reliable to distinguish responders from non-responders. However thanks to the prognostic value of partial metabolic response assessed by both PERCIST and Immuno-PERCIST, PET-based response maintained prognostic significant in patients classified as progressive disease on the basis of irRC. Conclusion: Even though the present study did not support the routine use of FDG-PET in the general population of NSCLC patients treated with ICI, it suggests the added prognostic value of the metabolic response assessment, potentially improving the therapeutic decision-making.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Dec 5 2019


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