Early PET response to neoadjuvant chemo predicts increased survival in sarcoma patients

April 2, 2012

An early Positron Emission Tomography (PET) response after the initial cycle of neoadjuvant chemotherapy can be used to predict increased survival in patients with soft tissue sarcomas, according to a study by researchers with UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Prior studies by this multidisciplinary team of physician scientists at the Jonsson Cancer Center had shown that use of FDG PET/computed tomography (CT) could determine pathologic response after the first dose of . The researchers then wondered if the patients showing a significant PET response after the first round of also were surviving longer, said Dr. Fritz Eilber, an associate professor of surgical oncology, director of the Sarcoma Program at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center and senior author of the study.

"We did find that patients who experienced an early PET response to treatment had significantly increased survival," Eilber said. "This is vital because patients want to know if the drugs are working and what that says about their ultimate outcome."

The study was published April 1, 2012 in , a peer-reviewed journal of the American Association of Cancer Research.

In this study, 39 patients with soft tissue sarcoma underwent a PET scan to measure their tumor's , or how much was being taken up by the tumor, prior to getting chemotherapy. The patients were given another after the first round of chemotherapy. Those whose tumors demonstrated a 25 percent or more decrease in – a response considered significant - were determined later to have significant increased survival rates compared to those patients who had less than a 25 percent decrease, Eilber said.

"It's an important finding because we can now identify whether patients are getting the right chemotherapy very quickly," Eilber said. "Patients don't want to have to wait until the cancer recurs or they die to find out whether their chemotherapy worked or not."

Going forward, Eilber and his team are working to design new molecular imaging tools that may tell them even more about a patient's cancer beyond the conventional FDG probe.

"Just looking at the size of the tumor is not good enough anymore," Eilber said. "We want to image what's happening within the tumor in real time."

The study was funded by the In vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Center at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Department of Energy.

"This study suggests that PET allows survival predictions after the initial cycle of neoadjuvant chemotherapy and might therefore potentially serve as an early endpoint biomarker," the study states. "Such information cannot be derived from CT scanning based on serial tumor size measurements. The ability to assess treatment response early during the course of therapy can potentially guide management decisions. Treatment could be switched from neoadjuvant chemotherapy to immediate surgery in non-responding patients, while it would be continued in responders. Such risk adapted therapy could reduce treatment associated morbidity and costs."

Explore further: Combining CT, FDG-PET provides more accurate treatments for head and neck cancer patients

Related Stories

Combining CT, FDG-PET provides more accurate treatments for head and neck cancer patients

April 29, 2011
Combining computerized tomography (CT) with fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) images results in significantly more defined tumor outlines and potentially different treatment options in head and neck ...

PET techniques provide more accurate diagnosis, prognosis in challenging breast cancer cases

February 6, 2012
In two new studies featured in the February issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, researchers are revealing how molecular imaging can be used to solve mysteries about difficult cases of breast cancer. One article focuses ...

New research shows PET imaging effective in predicting lung cancer outcomes

October 5, 2011
Advanced imaging with Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans shows great promise in predicting which patients with inoperable lung cancer have more aggressive tumors and need additional treatment following standard chemotherapy/radiation ...

Recommended for you

Researchers release first draft of a genome-wide cancer 'dependency map'

July 27, 2017
In one of the largest efforts to build a comprehensive catalog of genetic vulnerabilities in cancer, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified more than 760 genes ...

Cancer-death button gets jammed by gut bacterium

July 27, 2017
Researchers at Michigan Medicine and in China showed that a type of bacterium is associated with the recurrence of colorectal cancer and poor outcomes. They found that Fusobacterium nucleatum in the gut can stop chemotherapy ...

Long-sought mechanism of metastasis is discovered in pancreatic cancer

July 27, 2017
Cells, just like people, have memories. They retain molecular markers that at the beginning of their existence helped guide their development. Cells that become cancerous may be making use of these early memories to power ...

Manmade peptides reduce breast cancer's spread

July 27, 2017
Manmade peptides that directly disrupt the inner workings of a gene known to support cancer's spread significantly reduce metastasis in a mouse model of breast cancer, scientists say.

Blocking the back-door that cancer cells use to escape death by radiotherapy

July 27, 2017
A natural healing mechanism of the body may be reducing the efficiency of radiotherapy in breast cancer patients, according to a new study.

Glowing tumor technology helps surgeons remove hidden cancer cells

July 27, 2017
Surgeons were able to identify and remove a greater number of cancerous nodules from lung cancer patients when combining intraoperative molecular imaging (IMI) - through the use of a contrast agent that makes tumor cells ...

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.