Noninvasive advanced image analysis could lead to better patient care

July 2, 2014, The Translational Genomics Research Institute

Lung cancer patients could receive more precise treatment, and their progress could be better tracked, using a new high-tech method of non-invasive medical imaging analysis, according to a study published today by the journal PLOS ONE.

Genetic changes increasingly are recognized as driving development. But obtaining evidence of these changes usually requires a biopsy, which can be problematic for sensitive regions of the body such as the lungs.

Based on a review of 48 patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the study found that by scanning their tumor cells using "quantitative computed tomography based texture analysis" (QTA), researchers could determine—with nearly 90 percent accuracy—whether the patient's tumor had a cancer-causing K-ras gene mutation.

The study was led by investigators at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare, and Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA).

NSCLC represents more than 85 percent of all lung cancers, which will kill an estimated 159,000 Americans this year, making it the leading cause of cancer-related death. It has a five-year survival rate less than 10 percent.

QTA was shown to be an accurate—and non-invasive—alternative to surgical biopsy and other invasive means of collecting and analyzing biological samples, the study said. This method of making genomic distinctions may help physicians determine the best type of treatment to administer to each patient.

"The ability to rapidly and non-invasively characterize NSCLC tumors would be a great asset to clinical oncologists," said Dr. Glen Weiss, the study's lead author, Director of Clinical Research and Medical Oncologist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America's Western Regional Medical Center in Phoenix, and a Clinical Associate Professor in TGen's Cancer and Cell Biology Division.

"QTA applied to molecularly defined NSCLC cases may have a broader application to precision medicine by offering a non-invasive way of identifying the best therapies for each patient," said Dr. Weiss.

Dr. Ronald Korn, Medical Director of Scottsdale Healthcare's Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center and the study's senior author, described QTA as a substantial step forward in the use of medical imaging: "Non-invasive characterization of a tumor's molecular features could enhance treatment management. Non-invasive QTA can differentiate the presence of K-ras mutation from pan-wildtype NSCLC."

Dr. Korn also is CEO and Medical Director of Imaging Endpoints, a leading imaging core lab that provides centralized image handling and advanced image interpretations for clinical trials. Through Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute, and in collaboration with Imaging Endpoints Core Lab, this team has developed one of the only global radiology research laboratories that specializes in rapid detection and assessment of response (also known as the RADAR program).

"Although, more studies are needed to move our RADAR program forward towards routine medical use, our core lab remains focused upon characterizing tumors non-invasively through imaging and then using these technologies to help determine, as soon as possible, whether cancer treatments are working, sometimes within days to weeks after the start of therapy" said Dr. Korn.

Dr. Weiss said future studies using QTA also could help identify other genomic sub-types of NSCLC.

Explore further: Team identifies growth factor receptors that may prompt metastatic spread of lung cancer

Related Stories

Team identifies growth factor receptors that may prompt metastatic spread of lung cancer

April 9, 2014
Two cell surface receptors might be responsible for the most common form of lung cancer spreading to other parts of the body, according to a study led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

TGen, Scottsdale Healthcare begin study of new drug for patients with solid tumors

June 17, 2014
The Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) are studying the safety and effectiveness of a new drug, AG-120, for treatment of patients with solid tumors, ...

New vaccine study hopes to improve pancreatic cancer treatment

June 13, 2014
Medical investigators at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare are studying a new cancer immunotherapy to see if it can successfully help patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.

Study identifies key protein that helps prevent lung cancer tumors from being destroyed

March 4, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) have discovered a protein, Mcl-1, that helps enable one of the most common and deadly types of cancer to survive radiation and drug treatments.

Study shows ability to do next-generation sequencing for patients with advanced cancers

October 30, 2013
A pilot study led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare shows that, even for patients with advanced and rapidly transforming cancer, researchers ...

Recommended for you

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

January 18, 2018
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer.

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

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.