Objectives: The limited positive predictive value of an incomplete response on PET-CT following (chemo)radiotherapy for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) means that the optimal management strategy remains uncertain. The aim of the study is to assess the utility of a 'second-look' interval PET-CT.Methods: Patients with HNSCC who were treated with (chemo)radiotherapy between 2008 and 2017 and underwent (i) baseline and (ii) response assessment PET-CT and (iii) second-look PET-CT following incomplete (positive or equivocal scan) response were included. Endpoints were conversion rate to complete response (CR) and test characteristics of the second-look PET-CT.Results: Five hundred sixty-two patients with HNSCC underwent response assessment PET-CT at a median of 17 weeks post-radiotherapy. Following an incomplete response on PET-CT, 40 patients underwent a second-look PET-CT at a median of 13 weeks (range 6-25) from the first response PET-CT. Thirty-four out of 40 (85%) patients had oropharyngeal carcinoma. Twenty-four out of 40 (60%) second-look PET-CT scans converted to a complete locoregional response. The primary tumour conversion rate was 15/27 (56%) and the lymph node conversion rate was 14/19 (74%). The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value (NPV) of the second-look PET-CT were 75%, 75%, 25% and 96% for the primary tumour and 100%, 92%, 40% and 100% for lymph nodes. There were no cases of progression following conversion to CR in the primary site or lymph nodes.Conclusions: The majority of patients who undergo a second-look PET-CT convert to a CR. The NPV of a second-look PET-CT is high, suggesting the potential to avoid surgical intervention.Key Points: • PET-CT is a useful tool for response assessment following (chemo)radiotherapy for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. • An incomplete response on PET-CT has a limited positive predictive value and optimal management is uncertain. • These data show that with a 'second-look' interval PET-CT, the majority of patients convert to a complete metabolic response. When there is doubt about clinical and radiological response, a 'second-look' PET-CT can be used to spare patients unnecessary surgical intervention.