Early Response Prediction of Multiparametric Functional MRI and18 F-FDG-PET in Patients with Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treated with (Chemo)Radiation

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Background: Patients with locally-advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) have variable responses to (chemo)radiotherapy. A reliable prediction of outcomes allows for enhancing treatment efficacy and follow-up monitoring. Methods: Fifty-seven histopathologically-proven HNSCC patients with curative (chemo)radiotherapy were prospectively included. All patients had an MRI (DW,-IVIM, DCE-MRI) and18 F-FDG-PET/CT before and 10 days after start-treatment (intratreatment). Primary tumor functional imaging parameters were extracted. Univariate and multivariate analysis were performed to construct prognostic models and risk stratification for 2 year locoregional recurrence-free survival (LRFFS), distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) and overall survival (OS). Model performance was measured by the cross-validated area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC). Results: The best LRFFS model contained the pretreatment imaging parameters ADC_kurtosis, Kep and SUV_peak, and intratreatment imaging parameters change (∆) ∆-ADC_skewness, ∆-f, ∆-SUV_peak and ∆-total lesion glycolysis (TLG) (AUC = 0.81). Clinical parameters did not enhance LRFFS prediction. The best DMFS model contained pretreatment ADC_kurtosis and SUV_peak (AUC = 0.88). The best OS model contained gender, HPV-status, N-stage, pretreatment ADC_skewness, D, f, metabolic-active tumor volume (MATV), SUV_mean and SUV_peak (AUC = 0.82). Risk stratification in high/medium/low risk was significantly prognostic for LRFFS (p = 0.002), DMFS (p < 0.001) and OS (p = 0.003). Conclusions: Intratreatment functional imaging parameters capture early tumoral changes that only provide prognostic information regarding LRFFS. The best LRFFS model consisted of pretreatment, intratreatment and ∆ functional imaging parameters; the DMFS model consisted of only pretreatment functional imaging parameters, and the OS model consisted ofHPV-status, gender and only pretreatment functional imaging parameters. Accurate clinically applicable risk stratification calculators can enable personalized treatment (adap-tation) management, early on during treatment, improve counseling and enhance patient-specific post-therapy monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Article number216
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • CT
  • MR diffusion weighted imaging
  • MR dynamic contrast enhanced
  • PET
  • PET/CT
  • Radiation therapy/oncology
  • functional imaging
  • head and neck
  • oncology
  • outcomes analysis
  • prognosis
  • radiation therapy
  • squamous cell carcinoma
  • tumor response

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