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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Volumetric FDG-PET predicts overall and progression- free survival after 14 days of targeted therapy in metastatic renal cell carcinoma

Jacob Farnebo1*, Per Grybäck1, Ulrika Harmenberg2, Anna Laurell3, Peter Wersäll2, Lennart K Blomqvist1, Anders Ullén2 and Per Sandström2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Karolinska University Hospital and Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

2 Department of Oncology, Karolinska University Hospital and Department of Oncology and Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

3 Department of Oncology, Academic Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:408  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-408

Published: 6 June 2014



To determine whether changes in the metabolism of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) assessed by F18-FDG-PET after 14 and 28 days of treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors can predict overall and progression- free patient survival.


Thirty-nine consecutive patients with mRCC were included prospectively and underwent PET examinations prior to and after 14 and 28 days of standard treatment with sunitinib (n = 18), sorafenib (n = 19) or pazopanib (n = 2). The PET response was analyzed in terms of SUVmax, SULpeak, and total lesion glycolysis and a positive response (defined as a 30% reduction) compared to overall and progression- free survival.


Thirty-five patients with at least one metabolically active metastatic lesion prior to treatment underwent additional FDG-PET examinations after 14 (n = 32) and/or 28 days (n = 30) of treatment. Changes in either SULpeak or total lesion glycolysis were correlated to both progression-free and overall survival (for TLG2.5 responders, HR = 0.38 (95% CI: 0.18-0.83) and 0.22 (95% CI: 0.09-0.53), and for TLG50 responders, HR = 0.25 (0.10-0.62) and 0.25 (95% CI: 0.11-0.57) and for SULpeak responders, HR = 0.39 (95% CI: 0.17-0.91) and 0.38 (95% CI: 0.15-0.93), respectively). In contrast SUVmax response did not predict progression- free or overall survival (HR = 0.43 (95% CI: 0.18-1.01) and 0.50 (95% CI: 0.21-1.19), respectively).


Assessment of early changes in SULpeak and total lesion glycolysis undergoing treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors by FDG-PET can possibly predict progression- free and overall survival in patients with mRCC.

FDG-PET; Renal cell carcinoma; Biomarker; Targeted therapy; Total lesion glycolysis