PET Staging Improves Survival in Small-Cell Lung Cancer

June 26, 2013

Using PET to stage patients with limited-stage small-cell lung cancer before treatment improves survival rate.

Patients with limited-stage small-cell lung cancer (LS-SCLC) who undergo pretreatment staging with PET showed better disease control and survival, according to a study published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.

In 2012, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommended that newly diagnosed patients with SCLC undergo a PET-CT, a change from their previous recommendation of a bone scan. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania undertook a study to determine the clinical impact of the new recommendation.

Fifty-four patients with LS-SCLC who underwent concurrent chemoradiation from January 2001 to August 2010 were identified for the study. The researchers looked at the patients’ scanning history and treatment outcomes. All patients underwent thoracoabdominopelvic CT and MRI neuroimaging. Forty patients underwent PET.

The results showed that more patients who underwent PET staging presented with nodal metastases. The median overall survival from diagnosis in the patients who underwent PET before treatment was 32 months versus 17 months in patients staged without PET. Three-year survival was 47 percent (PET) versus 19 percent (non-PET).

“Pretreatment PET staging of LS-SCLC was associated with improved survival,” the authors wrote. “PET-staged patients had an improved three-year overall survival from diagnosis compared with those with LS-SCLC who were not staged with PET.”