Diagnostic value of surveillance 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose PET/CT for detecting recurrent esophageal carcinoma after curative treatment

  • Soo Jeong Kim
  • Seung Hyup Hyun
  • Seung Hwan Moon
  • Kyung Soo Lee
  • Jong-Mu Sun
  • Dongryul Oh
  • Yong Chan Ahn
  • Jae Il Zo
  • Young Mog Shim
  • Joon Young ChoiEmail author
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Oncology – Digestive tract



Esophageal carcinoma recurs within two years in approximately half of patients who receive curative treatment and is associated with poor survival. While 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) is a reliable method of detecting recurrent esophageal carcinoma, in most previous studies FDG PET/CT scans were performed when recurrence was suspected. The aim of this study was to evaluate FDG PET/CT as a surveillance modality to detect recurrence of esophageal carcinoma after curative treatment where clinical indications of recurrent disease are absent.


A total of 782 consecutive FDG PET/CT studies from 375 patients with esophageal carcinoma after definitive treatment were reviewed. Abnormal lesions suggestive of recurrence on PET/CT scans were then evaluated. Recurrence was determined by pathologic confirmation or other clinical evidence within two months of the scan. If no clinical evidence for recurrence was found at least 6 months after the scan, the case was considered a true negative for recurrence.


The diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of PET/CT for detecting recurrent esophageal carcinomas were 100% (64/64) and 94.0% (675/718), respectively. There were no significant differences in the diagnostic performance of PET/CT for detecting recurrence according to initial stage or time between PET/CT and curative treatments. Unexpected second primary cancers were detected by FDG PET/CT in seven patients.


Surveillance FDG PET/CT is a useful imaging tool for detection of early recurrence or clinically unsuspected early second primary cancer in patients with curatively treated esophageal carcinoma but without clinical suspicion of recurrence.


Esophageal cancer Surveillance Nuclear medicine 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose PET/CT 



This paper was supported by the following grant(s): The National R&D Program for Cancer Control, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Korea (1720180).


This study was funded by The National R & D Program for Cancer Control, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Korea (grant number 1720180).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Soo Jeong Kim
    • 1
  • Seung Hyup Hyun
    • 2
  • Seung Hwan Moon
    • 2
  • Kyung Soo Lee
    • 3
  • Jong-Mu Sun
    • 4
  • Dongryul Oh
    • 5
  • Yong Chan Ahn
    • 5
  • Jae Il Zo
    • 6
  • Young Mog Shim
    • 6
  • Joon Young Choi
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Nuclear Medicine, Kangbuk Samsung HospitalSungkyunkwan University School of MedicineSeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Nuclear Medicine, Samsung Medical CenterSungkyunkwan University School of MedicineSeoulRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of Radiology, Samsung Medical CenterSungkyunkwan University School of MedicineSeoulRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Division of Hematology-Oncology Department of Medicine, Samsung Medical CenterSungkyunkwan University School of MedicineSeoulRepublic of Korea
  5. 5.Department of Radiation Oncology, Samsung Medical CenterSungkyunkwan University School of MedicineSeoulRepublic of Korea
  6. 6.Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Samsung Medical CenterSungkyunkwan University School of MedicineSeoulRepublic of Korea

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