Fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) has a high sensitivity for detecting metastasis from melanoma, but its application in early-stage melanomas is questionable. The purpose of this study was to determine if positron emission tomography (PET) is beneficial in staging of clinically node negative (cN0) head and neck melanoma. Methods. After institutional review board approval, patients with head and neck melanoma treated at 2 cancer centers (between 2000 and 2010) were identified using International Classification of Disease (ICD)-9 codes. A retrospective medical chart review of cN0 patients was performed for the treatment course and outcomes. Results. A total of 165 patients were treated; of these, 106 were node negative. FDG-PET was included in initial staging of 47 cN0 patients. None had true distant metastasis detected on PET. The imaging also failed to detect nodal metastasis in 2 patients who had disease on lymphatic sampling. Conclusion. FDG-PET did not alter the initial staging or treatment in patients with cN0 head and neck melanoma. Therefore, its routine use for staging is not warranted.
- head and neck melanoma
- positron emission tomography (PET)
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