F-18-FLT PET changes during radiotherapy combined with cetuximab in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma patients

B. A. W. Hoeben*, E. G. C. Troost, J. Bussink, C. M. L. van Herpen, W. J. G. Oyen, J. H. A. M. Kaanders

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aim: Early treatment response of head and neck cancer to radiotherapy concomitant with cetuximab was monitored by repetitive PET imaging with the proliferation tracer F-18-FLT. Patients, methods: Five head and neck cancer patients, treated with radiotherapy and concomitant cetuximab following cetuximab induction, received four F-18-FLT PET-CT scans before and during treatment. Changes in SUVpeak, SUVmean and CT- and PET-segmented gross tumour volumes were evaluated, as were correlations with immunohistochemical staining for Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) and Ki-67 (proliferation marker) in pre-treatment tumour biopsies. Results: F-18-FLT PET measured tumor responses to the induction dose of cetuximab varied from 43% SUVpeak decrease to 47% increase. After start of radiotherapy F-18-FLT PET parameters decreased significantly in all patients. No associations were found between PET parameters and EGFR or Ki-67 expression levels. Conclusion: Proliferation of head and neck carcinomas shows a varying response to cetuximab induction, but consistently decreases after addition of radiotherapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-66
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • [F-18] fluorothymidine PET
  • head and neck cancer
  • cetuximab
  • radiotherapy
  • early response monitoring

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