Improved imaging agent pinpoints hostile cancer

July 8, 2014 by Chris Thomas
The study assessed whether the PET imaging test could ascertain whether there was residual tumour or inflammation present midway through chemotherapy treatment. Credit: Jenny Mealing

Positron emission tomography (PET) could prove to be a better imaging procedure than magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the detection of glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of primary brain tumour.

Funded by a Cancer Council WA grant of more than $143,000, researchers at the University of WA's School of Medicine and Pharmacology are testing a new PET that collects in high levels in glioma cells but low levels in normal brain tissue.

The imaging agent O-(2-[18F]-fluoroethyl)-L-tyrosine, known as FET, has already shown promise in clinical studies with treatment planning and monitoring treatment response and outcome in a small number of glioblastoma patients.

UWA Associate Professor Roslyn Francis says the aim is to validate the imaging test in more patients and assess whether FET-PET can be used for routine management of patients with glioblastoma.

"FET is an amino acid PET imaging agent," she says.

"Clinical studies have shown amino acid transport is increased in malignant transformation of a variety of tumours.

"Agents such as FET demonstrate activity in both low-grade and high-grade glioblastoma and are independent of disruption to the blood-brain barrier.

"This imaging modality is complementary to MRI and can increase sensitivity of imaging because the uptake can be seen in sites of tumours that are non-enhancing on MRI."

Previously, the research team conducted a clinical study with 30 patients using the related agent C11-methionine—another amino acid PET but with a shorter half-life.

The study assessed whether the PET imaging test could ascertain whether there was residual tumour or inflammation present midway through chemotherapy treatment.

"Our current study aims to validate FET-PET imaging as a clinical tool in glioblastoma by establishing reproducible imaging protocols, acquisition parameters, quantitative guidelines and determining inter and intra-observer variability," A/Prof Francis says.

Response assessed to chemoradiotherapy

"Data will also be collected on the utility of FET-PET imaging for assessing response to treatment with chemoradiotherapy in a cohort of patients with .

"The aim is to use the results of this initial single site study to form the basis of a multicentre imaging cohort study across several sites in Australia."

A sub-study will also assess how FET-PET imaging may impact on a planned radiotherapy treatment volume compared to using MRI alone.

It will utilise baseline FET-PET collected as part of the main research project.

"It's an image analysis study where we will hopefully gain information to ascertain whether incorporating areas of FET uptake into a radiotherapy planning field may influence sites of subsequent disease progression or relapse," A/Prof Francis says.

Explore further: Molecular imaging improves care for children with brain cancer

Related Stories

Molecular imaging improves care for children with brain cancer

June 11, 2013
A relatively new weapon in the fight against childhood brain cancer has emerged that improves upon standard magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) by providing information about tumor metabolism and extent of cancer in children ...

Combo tumor imaging can distinguish malignant and benign breast tumors, help avoid biopsies

June 24, 2014
Imaging breast tumors using four approaches together can better distinguish malignant breast tumors from those that are benign, compared with imaging using fewer approaches, and this may help avoid repeat breast biopsies, ...

PSMA-based imaging traces even treatment-resistant prostate cancer

June 9, 2014
Anti-androgen hormonal therapy, also called chemical castration, can be an important defense against further disease progression for patients with prostate cancer that has traveled and grown in other areas, or metastasized—but ...

Opti-SPECT/PET/CT: Five different imaging systems now combined

June 9, 2014
Taking their pick, biomedical researchers can now conduct five different imaging studies in one scan with a state-of-the-art preclinical molecular imaging system that scientists unveiled during the Society of Nuclear Medicine ...

Perfecting the combined MR/PET

June 3, 2014
PET (Positron Emission Tomography) is an imaging technique that provides insight into the metabolic and functional alterations related to pathologic process. CT (Computerized X-Ray Tomography) and MRI (Magnetic Resonance ...

PET predicts early response to treatment for head and neck cancer patients

October 1, 2012
Determining the optimal treatment course and predicting outcomes may get easier in the future for patients with head and neck sqaumous cell carcinomas (HNSCCs) with the use of an investigational imaging agent. Research published ...

Recommended for you

Stem cell therapy attacks cancer by targeting unique tissue stiffness

July 26, 2017
A stem cell-based method created by University of California, Irvine scientists can selectively target and kill cancerous tissue while preventing some of the toxic side effects of chemotherapy by treating the disease in a ...

Understanding cell segregation mechanisms that help prevent cancer spread

July 26, 2017
Scientists have uncovered how cells are kept in the right place as the body develops, which may shed light on what causes invasive cancer cells to migrate.

Study uncovers potential 'silver bullet' for preventing and treating colon cancer

July 26, 2017
In preclinical experiments, researchers at VCU Massey Cancer Center have uncovered a new way in which colon cancer develops, as well as a potential "silver bullet" for preventing and treating it. The findings may extend to ...

Compound shows promise in treating melanoma

July 26, 2017
While past attempts to treat melanoma failed to meet expectations, an international team of researchers are hopeful that a compound they tested on both mice and on human cells in a petri dish takes a positive step toward ...

Study may explain failure of retinoic acid trials against breast cancer

July 25, 2017
Estrogen-positive breast cancers are often treated with anti-estrogen therapies. But about half of these cancers contain a subpopulation of cells marked by the protein cytokeratin 5 (CK5), which resists treatment—and breast ...

Breaking the genetic resistance of lung cancer and melanoma

July 25, 2017
Researchers from Monash University and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC, New York) have discovered why some cancers – particularly lung cancer and melanoma – are able to quickly develop deadly resistance ...

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.