Objectives: To investigate the role of functional visceral fat activity assessed by preoperative F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (18F-FDG PET/CT) in colorectal cancer (CRC) for predicting regional lymph node (LN) or distant metastasis. Method: We evaluated 131 patients with newly diagnosed CRC. They all underwent pre-operative 18F-FDG PET/CT and surgery. Functional fat activity was measured by maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) using 18F-FDG PET/CT. Functional visceral fat activity was measured by SUVmax of visceral fat/SUVmax of subcutaneous fat (V/S) ratio. Mann-Whitney U test, χ2 test, Fisher's exact test, receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) analysis, Spearrman's correlation coefficient, and uni- and multivariate logistic regression statistical analyses were done. Results: Patients with higher V/S ratio displayed a significantly higher rate of regional LN (p = 0.004) and distant metastasis (p<0.001). In addition, V/S ratio was the only factor that was significantly associated with distant metastasis. An optimal cut-off V/S ratio of 1.88 was proposed for predicting distant metastasis with a sensitivity of 84.6% and specificity of 78.8% (area under the curve: 0.86; p<0.0001) Conclusion: Functional visceral fat activity is significantly associated with distant metastasis in CRC patients. Furthermore, V/S ratio can be useful as a complementary factor in predicting distant metastasis.
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