OBJECTIVE/BACKGROUND: There is a high risk of relapse in stage IIIB/IIIC melanoma. The utility of 2-[fluorine-18]-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose positron emission tomography integrated with computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT) in these patients to evaluate response to treatment or for surveillance after treatment is currently not well defined. METHODS: Prospective data from 2 centers identified 97 patients with stage IIIB/IIIC extremity melanoma undergoing isolated limb infusion (ILI) who had whole body FDG-PET/CT scans before and every 3 months after treatment. Clinical response was determined at 3 months by Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors. RESULTS: Complete response (CR) after ILI occurred in 33% (32/97) of patients. FDG-PET/CT accurately identified 59% of patients who were CRs (19/32), whereas 41% (13/32) had residual metabolic activity in the extremity that was histologically negative for melanoma. The 3-year disease-free rate was 62.2% (95% CI: 40.1%-96.4%) for those patients who were CRs by both clinical/pathologic examination and FDG-PET/CT (n = 19) compared to only 29.4% (95% CI: 9.9%-87.2%) of those CRs who still had residual FDG-PET/CT activity (n = 13). FDG-PET/CT was utilized for surveillance of disease recurrence outside the regional field of treatment. Fifty-two percent (51/97) of patients developed disease outside the extremity at a median time of 212 days from pre-ILI FDG-PET/CT. In 47% (29/62) of these cases, the recurrence was resected. CONCLUSIONS: Although FDG-PET/CT does not appear to accurately identify patients who appear to be CRs to ILI, it does appear to identify a subgroup of patients whose regional progression-free survival is markedly worse. However, FDG-PET/CT appears to be an excellent method for surveillance in stage IIIB/IIIC patients after ILI with ability to identify surgically resectable recurrent disease in these high-risk patients.
- regional chemotherapy