Background/Aim: We evaluated the diagnostic value of functional imaging with [18F]-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG)-positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) for the identification of extranodal extension (ENE) in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Patients and Methods: In this study, 94 patients with HNSCC who underwent FDG-PET/CT were enrolled. We recorded the maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax), compared the results with pathologic findings, and evaluated the diagnostic performance of using a SUVmax cut-off value for ENE. Results: Of the 566 dissected levels examined, 53 (9.4%) exhibited ENE. The mean SUVmax of LN with and without ENE were 6.67 and 1.64, respectively (p<0.001). A receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve analysis for SUVmax showed an area under the ROC curve of 0.913. A SUVmax cutoff of 3.0 achieved diagnostic performance for identifying ENE with sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of 81.1%, 94.3% and 93.1%, respectively. Conclusion: FDG-PET/CT findings using a SUVmax cut-off of 3.0 provides appropriate diagnostic value in identifying ENE.
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