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Blood Flow Mismatch Seen in Pancreatic Cancers

Findings may help explain why many patients respond poorly to chemo and radiation

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Finnish researchers say they have identified a blood-flow metabolism mismatch that predicts pancreatic cancer aggressiveness.

The investigators used a three-dimensional imaging technique called positron emission tomography (PET) to measure blood flow and glucose consumption -- a measure of general metabolic activity of a tissue -- in 26 people. The researchers noted that blood flow in malignant tumors was 60 percent less than in normal pancreatic tissue.

The findings may help explain why many pancreatic cancer patients have a poor response to radiation treatment and chemotherapy, the study authors noted in their report published Aug. 25 in Clinical Cancer Research.

"Imaging of several of these tumor parameters might be important for the planning and success of [cancer] therapies," study author Dr. Gaber Komar, research fellow at the Turku PET Center, said in a news release from the American Association for Cancer Research. "We believe that a better understanding of these mechanisms may help overcome the general treatment resistance of pancreatic cancer."

"This study confirms that blood flow metabolism mismatch exists in pancreatic tumors, similar to other cancers such as breast and lung cancers, and predicts poor patient outcome," Dr. David Mankoff, a professor of radiology, medicine and bioengineering at the University of Washington in Seattle, said in the news release.

"A blood flow metabolism mismatch by PET appears to be associated with cancer aggressiveness and treatment resistance. We've only recently recognized this pattern as a result of advantages in functional imaging methods," added Mankoff.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about pancreatic cancer.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Association for Cancer Research, news release, Aug. 25, 2009

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