Using a combination Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) scanner, researchers monitored 50 patients undergoing treatment for high-grade soft tissue sarcomas. The patients were receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy treatments to shrink their tumors prior to surgery.
The study found that response could be determined about a week after the first dose of chemotherapy drugs. Typically, patients are scanned at about three months into chemotherapy to determine whether the treatment is working.
"The question was, how early could we pick up a response? We wanted to see if we could determine response after a single administration of chemotherapy," said Dr. Fritz Eilber, an assistant professor of surgical oncology, director of the Sarcoma Program at UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center and senior author of the study. "There's no point in giving a patient a treatment that isn't working. These treatments make patients very sick and have long-term serious side effects. "
The study appears in the April 15 issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research.
PET scanning shows biochemical functions in real time, acting as a sort of molecular camera. For this study, Eilber and his team monitored the tumor's metabolic function, or how much sugar was being consumed by the cancer cells. Because they're growing out of control, cancer cells use much more sugar than do normal cells, making them light up under PET scanning using a glucose uptake probe called FDG. In order to identify an effective response to treatment, researchers needed to see a 35 percent decrease in the tumor's metabolic activity.
Of the 50 patients in the study, 28 did not respond and Eilber and his team knew within a week of their initial treatment. This allows the treatment course to be discontinued or changed to another more effective treatment, getting the patient to surgery more quickly.
"The significance of this study was that it identified people – more than half of those in the study – who were not going to benefit from the treatment early in the course of their therapy," Eilber said. "This information significantly helps guide patient care. Although this study was performed in patients scheduled for surgery, I think these findings will have an even greater impact on patients with inoperable tumors or metastatic disease as you get a much quicker evaluation of treatment effectiveness and can make decisions that will hugely impact quality of life."
Eilber said he was surprised how soon response to therapy could be determined.
"We had an idea that patients either respond or do not respond to treatment, but we weren't sure how early you could see that," he said. "I really was not sure we would be able to see effectiveness this early."
Eilber and his team will continue to follow the patients and a clinical trial currently is underway based on the results of this study. Eilber believes it will help personalize treatment for each patient and may one day become the standard of care.
Researchers also may use the non-invasive imaging method to gauge response to novel and targeted therapies. Eilber said that they are clinically testing new tracers as well. Instead of measuring glucose uptake, these probes look at cell growth. Response to therapy also may be tested using PET in other cancer types, he said.
The nearly two-year study represented a true multidisciplinary effort, Eilber said. Experts from surgery, medical oncology, molecular and medical pharmacology, radiology, pathology, orthopedics, nuclear medicine and biostatistics comprised the research team.
The study was funded by grants from the UCLA In Vivo Cellular and Molecular Imaging Centers and the Department of Energy.
UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has more than 350 researchers and clinicians engaged in disease research, prevention, detection, control, treatment and education. One of the nation's largest comprehensive cancer centers, the Jonsson center is dedicated to promoting research and translating basic science into leading-edge clinical studies. In July 2008, the Jonsson Cancer Center was named among the top 10 cancer centers nationwide by U.S. News & World Report, a ranking it has held for nine consecutive years.
Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research