Improved imaging agent pinpoints hostile cancer

July 8, 2014 by Chris Thomas, Science Network WA
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

Study: Cells of three advanced cancers die with drug-like compounds that reverse chemo failure

January 23, 2018
Researchers at Southern Methodist University have discovered three drug-like compounds that successfully reverse chemotherapy failure in three of the most commonly aggressive cancers—ovarian, prostate and breast.

'Hijacker' drives cancer in some patients with high-risk neuroblastoma

January 23, 2018
Researchers have identified mechanisms that drive about 10 percent of high-risk neuroblastoma cases and have used a new approach to show how the cancer genome "hijacks" DNA that regulates other genes. The resulting insights ...

Enzyme inhibitor combined with chemotherapy delays glioblastoma growth

January 23, 2018
In animal experiments, a human-derived glioblastoma significantly regressed when treated with the combination of an experimental enzyme inhibitor and the standard glioblastoma chemotherapy drug, temozolomide.

Scientists block the siren call of two aggressive cancers

January 23, 2018
Aggressive cancers like glioblastoma and metastatic breast cancer have in common a siren call that beckons the bone marrow to send along whatever the tumors need to survive and thrive.

Researchers identify a protein that keeps metastatic breast cancer cells dormant

January 23, 2018
A study headed by ICREA researcher Roger Gomis at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) has identified the genes involved in the latent asymptomatic state of breast cancer metastases. The work sheds light ...

Boosting cancer therapy with cross-dressed immune cells

January 22, 2018
Researchers at EPFL have created artificial molecules that can help the immune system to recognize and attack cancer tumors. The study is published in Nature Methods.

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.