Lung cancer patients may not need to wait till their radiation treatment is over to know if it worked. A PET scan several weeks after starting radiation treatment for lung cancer can indicate whether the tumor will respond to the treatment, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Traditionally, PET, or positron emission tomography, has been used after radiation treatment for lung cancer to assess whether the tumor responded to treatment and whether the patients will have a chance of being cured. Using PET several weeks into treatment, researchers found a strong correlation between tumor responses during treatment and response three months after completion of the treatment. This could potentially allow doctors to change the radiation treatment plan before treatment ends to improve the outcome.
Results of the study appear in the July 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
“This demonstrates that PET scans can be performed earlier during the course of radiation treatment, which will allow us to modify the treatment regimen before the treatment is completed. Our sample size was small, but the results are very promising,” says lead study author Feng-Ming Kong, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of radiation oncology at the U-M Medical School.
In a pilot study of 15 people with early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer, researchers administered FDG-PET scans before beginning radiation therapy, three to four weeks into treatment and three months after completing treatment. An FDG-PET scan uses radioactive labeled glucose, which is drawn to cells that are being metabolized quickly. If a tumor is responding to radiation treatment, it would show decreased FDG activity in the cells.
The concern in the past has been that normal lung tissue reacts to the radiation and may be in the way of determining through PET scan whether the tumor is shrinking. Kong’s study found this was not an issue.
“The confounding effect on normal tissue is not as significant during treatment as it is after treatment, which is a big surprise. This is the part I’m most excited about: The confounding effect is actually more remarkable after the treatment. That’s counter to our traditional assumptions. We always assumed the confounding effect would be worse during treatment,” Kong says. She says this finding makes sense, as normal lung tissue is slow to react to the assault of radiation therapy and typically there is a delay before lung inflammations or other problems develop.
“The PET scan is better to perform during the course of treatment instead of months after treatment. It avoids the normal tissue confounding effect and allows the radiation therapist to modify the doses if necessary,” Kong says.
The researchers are continuing to study PET scans in a larger number of patients to verify the pilot findings. The next step is to assess whether changing the treatment regimen based on mid-treatment PET scan findings would lead to better tumor control and survival rates. If continued studies bear out the initial data, Kong is hopeful this work could eventually lead to a change in standard practice guidelines regarding PET for lung cancer.
Nicole Fawcett | EurekAlert!
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences