Purpose18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomopraphy/computed tomography (FDGPET/CT) has been proven to be useful for imaging many types of cancer; however, its role is not well defined in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We assessed the prognostic value of metabolic imaging biomarkers as established by baseline pretreatment FDG PET/CT in patients with HCC.MethodsWe retrospectively analyzed the records of patients with HCC who underwent FDG PET/CT before initial treatment from May 2013 through May 2014. Four PET/CT parameters were measured: maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax), total lesion glycolysis (TLG), metabolic tumor volume (MTV), and tumor-to-normal-liver SUV ratio (TNR). Optimal cut-off values for the PET/CT parameters to stratify patients in terms of overall survival (OS) were determined. Multivariate analysis was performed to determine whether the PET/CT parameters could add to the prognostic value of the Cancer of the Liver Italian Program (CLIP) scoring system and the Barcelona-Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) staging system.ResultsThe analysis included 56 patients. Univariate analysis of the association between OS and continuous variables, including the PET/CT parameters SUVmax, TLG, tumor size, total bilirubin level, and alkaline phosphatase level were significant predictors of OS. SUVmax ≥ 11.7, TLG ≥ 1,341, MTV ≥ 230 mL, and TNR ≥ 4.8 were identified as cut-off values. Multivariate analysis revealed that SUVmax ≥ 11.7 and TNR ≥ 4.8 were independent factors predicting a poor prognosis in both the CLIP scoring system and the BCLC staging system, as was TLG in the BCLC staging system.ConclusionPretreatment FDG PET/CT in patients with HCC can add to the prognostic value of standard clinical measures. Incorporation of imaging biomarkers derived from FDG PET/CT into HCC staging systems should be considered.