SUVmax (Maximum Standardized Uptake Value) may be a significant and clinically independent marker to indicate progression-free survival in stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), according to research being presented at the 2013 Cancer Imaging and Radiation Therapy Symposium.
SUVmax is measured via PET/CT scan after patients have been injected with radioactive sugar (glucose). Quantifying the SUV of suspicious lesions can aid the identification of early stage tumors because cells that take in greater than normal amounts of radioactive glucose have a higher likelihood of being tumor cells. The highest concentration of radioactive glucose represents SUVmax. Previous studies have been able to correlate SUVmax to the growth rate of tumors, which indicates that tumors with higher SUVmax will more likely be more rapidly growing and will therefore be tumors that are more difficult to treat, may recur or may metastasize more frequently.