18F-FDG PET/CT as a prognostic factor in penile cancer

  • André Salazar
  • Eduardo Paulino Júnior
  • Paulo Guilherme O. Salles
  • Raul Silva-Filho
  • Edna A. Reis
  • Marcelo MamedeEmail author
Original Article



Penile cancer (PC) is a rare neoplasm with an aggressive behavior and variable prognosis. Lymph node (LN) involvement and pathological features of the primary lesion have been proven to be the most important survival factors. Positron emission tomography/computed tomography with fluorodeoxyglucose labelled with fluorine-18 (18F-FDG PET/CT) provides information on tumor staging and works as a prognostic factor, with promising results in other carcinomas. The aim of the present study is to evaluate PET/CT as a prognostic factor in PC.


Fifty-five patients (mean age 56.6 y) diagnosed with penile squamous cell carcinoma were prospectively evaluated from 2012 to 2014. All subjects underwent 18F-FDG PET/CT before treatment and were regularly followed after surgery.


Out of the 53 patients selected, 17 (32.1%) had localized disease (cT1–2) and 24 (45.3%) had palpable nodes (cN+). Partial penile amputation was performed in 38 patients (71.7%) and inguinal lymphadenectomy (LND) in 30 (56.6%). From the LND group, 16 (53.3%) presented with positive neoplastic cells (pN+). Patients with more aggressive disease had a significantly (p = 0.019) higher 18F-FDG tumor uptake (pSUVmax), while inguinal LN uptake (nSUVmax) was able to recognize metastatic LN (p = 0.039). Some pathological prognostic features, when presented, have shown significant changes in pSUVmax values. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were performed and specific cutoff values of pSUVmax were evaluated to determine sensitivity and specificity. Regarding regional LNs, PET/CT presented a 76.2% accuracy in cN+ patients. After a 39-month follow up, pSUVmax of 16.6 (p = 0.0001) and nSUVmax of 6.5 (p = 0.019) were established as the ideal values to predict cancer-specific survival. The multivariate analysis confirmed nSUVmax as a predictor for LN metastasis (p = 0.043) and pSUVmax as a mean to estimate survival rate (p = 0.05).


This study showed promising results on the use of 18F-FDG PET/CT as a prognostic tool for PC, using specific cutoff values of pSUVmax and nSUVmax.


18F-FDG PET/CT Penile cancer Prognostic value Survival 



The authors thank Rodrigo Corradi, M.D., and Sofia Lage for the text revision.

Compliance with ethical standards

The authors declare no conflict of interest. All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Urology SectionMario Penna InstituteBelo HorizonteBrazil
  2. 2.Pathology and Forensic Department, School of MedicineFederal University of Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  3. 3.Pathology SectionMario Penna InstituteBelo HorizonteBrazil
  4. 4.Anatomy and Imaging Department, School of MedicineFederal University of Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  5. 5.Statistics Department, Exact Science InstituteFederal University of Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil

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