DOI: 10.3390/ph16121664 ISSN: 1424-8247

Diagnostic Accuracy of [68Ga]Ga Labeled Fibroblast-Activation Protein Inhibitors in Detecting Head and Neck Cancer Lesions Using Positron Emission Tomography: A Systematic Review and a Meta-Analysis

Alessio Rizzo, Alberto Miceli, Manuela Racca, Matteo Bauckneht, Silvia Morbelli, Domenico Albano, Francesco Dondi, Francesco Bertagna, Danilo Galizia, Barbara Muoio, Salvatore Annunziata, Giorgio Treglia
  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Molecular Medicine

Several studies have examined the use of positron emission tomography (PET) using [68Ga]Ga-radiolabeled fibroblast-activation protein inhibitors (FAPi) across multiple subtypes of head and neck cancer (HNC). The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of a newly developed molecular imaging approach in the context of HNC through a comprehensive review and meta-analysis. A thorough literature review was conducted to identify scholarly articles about the diagnostic effectiveness of FAP-targeted PET imaging. The present study incorporates original publications assessing the efficacy of this innovative molecular imaging test in both newly diagnosed and previously treated HNC patients. This systematic review examined eleven investigations, of which nine were deemed suitable for inclusion in the subsequent meta-analysis. The quantitative synthesis yielded a pooled detection rate of 99% for primary HNC lesions. Additionally, on a per patient-based analysis, the pooled sensitivity and specificity for regional lymph node metastases were found to be 90% and 84%, respectively. The analysis revealed a statistical heterogeneity among the studies for the detection rate of primary HNC lesions. The quantitative findings presented in this study indicate a favorable diagnostic performance of FAP-targeted PET imaging in detecting primary HNC tumors. In contrast, discordant results concerning the diagnostic accuracy of lymph node metastases were found. However, further multicentric trials are required to validate the efficacy of FAP-targeted PET in this specific group of patients.

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