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Bright tumors, dim prospects
Date:9/13/2007

Sept. 13, 2007 -- It doesn't matter how small or large it is, if a cervical tumor glows brightly in a PET scan, it's apt to be more dangerous than dimmer tumors. That's the conclusion of a new study of cervical cancer patients at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

"We've seen that among patients with the same stage of cervical cancer, there will be some patients who don't respond to treatment as well as others," says lead author Elizabeth A. Kidd, M.D., a Barnes-Jewish Hospital resident in Washington University's Department of Radiation Oncology. "Our study suggests that PET (positron emission tomography) can reliably identify patients who have a poorer prognosis."

Kidd and her colleagues, including researchers with the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, report their findings in an upcoming issue of the journal Cancer.

The researchers used FDG-PET, a widely available three-dimensional scanning technique. FDG-PET measures how rapidly tumors take up a radiolabeled glucose tracer (FDG) high uptake results in a stronger or brighter signal in the scan. The researchers found that the higher the standard uptake value (SUV) for FDG in the primary tumor, the greater the recurrence rate and the lower the survival rate of patients.

"FDG-PET is the most commonly used PET scan," Kidd explains. "It's standard for patients to have this type of scan once diagnosed with cervical cancer. Oncologists use it to see the extent of the primary tumor and to look for tumors that have spread beyond the pelvis. But this study shows that the SUV obtained from FDG-PET can also tell physicians how well a patient will respond to treatment and should be part of the evaluation process."

A high SUV at diagnosis could signal that a patient should be followed more closely than usual after treatment to catch recurrences earlier, according to Kidd. She also indicates that although the results suggest t
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Contact: Gwen Ericson
ericsong@wustl.edu
314-286-0141
Washington University in St. Louis
Source:Eurekalert

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