Curing more cervical cancer cases may be in the math

January 29, 2010

Cervical cancer is highly curable when caught early. But in a third of cases, the tumor responds poorly to therapy or recurs later, when cure is much less likely.

Quicker identification of non-responding tumors may be possible using a new mathematical model developed by researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

The model uses information from (MRI) scans taken before and during therapy to monitor changes in tumor size. That information is plugged into the model to predict whether a particular case is responding well to treatment. If not, the patient can be changed to a more aggressive or experimental therapy midway through treatment, something not possible now.

The study, published in the journal Cancer Research, uses MRI scans and outcome information from 80 patients receiving a standard course of designed to cure their cancer.

"The model enables us to better interpret clinical data and predict treatment outcomes for individual patients," says principal investigator Jian Z. Wang, assistant professor of radiation medicine and a radiation physicist at the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

"The outcome predictions presented in this paper were solely based on changes in tumor volume as derived from MRI scans, which can be easily accessed even in community hospitals," Wang says. "The model is very robust and can provide a prediction accuracy of 90 percent for local tumor control and recurrence."

A strength of the new model, says first author Zhibin Huang, is its use of MRI data to estimate three factors that play key roles in tumor shrinkage and that vary from patient to patient - the proportion of tumor cells that survive , the speed at which the body removes dead cells from the tumor, and the growth rate of surviving .

The model is applicable to all cervical cancer patients, and the investigators are developing a model that can be applied to other cancer sites, Wang says.

Coauthor Dr. Nina A. Mayr, professor of radiation medicine at Ohio State, notes that the size of cervical tumors is currently estimated by touch, or palpation, which is often imprecise. Furthermore, shrinkage of a tumor may not be apparent until months after therapy has ended.

Other clinical factors currently used to predict a tumor's response to therapy include the tumor's stage, whether it has invaded nearby lymph nodes and its microscopic appearance.

"Our kinetic model helps us understand the underlying biological mechanisms of the rather complicated living tissue that is a tumor," Wang says. "It enables us to better interpret clinical data and predict treatment outcomes, which is critical for identifying the most effective therapy for personalized medicine."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Clinical trial suggests new cell therapy for relapsed leukemia patients

November 20, 2017
A significant proportion of children and young adults with treatment-resistant B-cell leukemia who participated in a small study achieved remission with the help of a new form of gene therapy, according to researchers at ...

Researchers discover a new target for 'triple-negative' breast cancer

November 20, 2017
So-called "triple-negative" breast cancer is a particularly aggressive and difficult-to-treat form. It accounts for only about 10 percent of breast cancer cases, but is responsible for about 25 percent of breast cancer fatalities.

Study reveals new mechanism used by cancer cells to disarm attacking immune cells

November 20, 2017
A new study by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC - James) identifies a substance released by pancreatic cancer cells that protects ...

Cell-weighing method could help doctors choose cancer drugs

November 20, 2017
Doctors have many drugs available to treat multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer. However, there is no way to predict, by genetic markers or other means, how a patient will respond to a particular drug. This can lead to ...

Lung cancer triggers pulmonary hypertension

November 17, 2017
Shortness of breath and respiratory distress often increase the suffering of advanced-stage lung cancer patients. These symptoms can be triggered by pulmonary hypertension, as scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Heart ...

Researchers discover an Achilles heel in a lethal leukemia

November 16, 2017
Researchers have discovered how a linkage between two proteins in acute myeloid leukemia enables cancer cells to resist chemotherapy and showed that disrupting the linkage could render the cells vulnerable to treatment. St. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.