Purpose: Tumor response evaluated by 2-deoxy-2-[ 18 F]fluoro-d-glucose ([ 18 F]FDG) positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) with standardized uptake value (SUV) is questionable when pre- and post-treatment PET/CT are acquired on different scanners. The aims of our study, performed in oncological patients who underwent pre- and post-treatment [ 18 F]FDG PET/CT on different scanners, were (1) to evaluate whether EQ·PET, a proprietary SUV inter-exams harmonization tool, modifies the EORTC tumor response classification and (2) to assess which classification (harmonized and non-harmonized) better predicts clinical outcome. Procedures: We retrospectively identified 95 PET pairs (pre- and post-treatment) performed on different scanners (Biograph mCT, Siemens; GEMINI GXL, Philips) in 73 oncological patients (52F; 57.8 ± 16.3 years). An 8-mm Gaussian filter was applied for the Biograph protocol to meet the EANM/EARL harmonization standard; no filter was needed for GXL. SUVmax and SUVmaxEQ of the same target lesion in the pre- and post-treatment PET/CT were noted. For each PET pair, the metabolic response classification (responder/non-responder), derived from combining the EORTC response categories, was evaluated twice (with and without harmonization). In discordant cases, the association of each metabolic response classification with final clinical response assessment and survival data (2-year disease-free survival, DFS) was assessed. Results: On Biograph, SUVmaxEQ of all target lesions was significantly lower (p = 0.001) than SUVmax (8.5 ± 6.8 vs 12.5 ± 9.6; − 38.6 %). A discordance between the two metabolic response classifications (harmonized and non-harmonized) was found in 19/95 (20 %) PET pairs. In this subgroup (n = 19; mean follow-up, 33.9 ± 9 months), responders according to harmonized classification (n = 9) had longer DFS (47.5 months, 88.9 %) than responders (n = 10) according to non-harmonized classification (26.3 months, 50.0 %; p = 0.01). Moreover, harmonized classification showed a better association with final clinical response assessment (17/19 PET pairs). Conclusions: The harmonized metabolic response classification is more associated with the final clinical response assessment, and it is able to better predict the DFS than the non-harmonized classification. EQ·PET is a useful harmonization tool for evaluating metabolic tumor response using different PET/CT scanners, also in different departments or for multicenter studies.
- Therapy response