Role of PETCT in the management of untreated advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity, oropharynx and hypopharynx

Angshuman Dutta, B. G. Chaithra, Harkirat Singh


Background: Advanced stage cancers of the oral cavity, oropharynx and hypopharynx have the worst prognosis owing to higher incidence of regional and distant metastases. PET/CT scan can detect distant metastases and can therefore be done at the initial presentation in advanced stage head and neck cancers to facilitate the chalking out of an appropriate treatment plan.

Methods: The study included 41 patients having stage III & IV of oral cavity, oropharyngeal and hypopharyngeal squamous cancer. The patients underwent clinical examination, an initial imaging with CT/MRI of the disease site and conventional metastatic workup. An initial TNM staging and treatment plan was formulated. The patients then underwent PET/CT. Tumor restaging was done and the treatment plan was altered if required after the PETCT.  

Results: There was change in management of 4(9%) owing to upstaging of disease following PETCT.

Conclusions: PETCT scan had a significant impact on the staging of disease affecting change in the treatment protocols. 


Positron emission tomography, Cancer, Staging

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