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New Scanning Technology Might Help Guide Prostate Cancer Care
Date:4/1/2012

SATURDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- A noninvasive scan might someday help doctors track the progress of prostate cancer and help guide treatment, researchers report.

The imaging tool, known as a prostate cancer-specific radiotracer, has so far only been tested successfully in mice. But a team from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City said the technology could help identify cases where prostate cancer has spread to the bone.

Radiotracers work by injecting a small amount of a compound tagged with a radionuclide into patients. Using positron emission tomography -- also known as a PET scan -- doctors are then able to better visualize tumors and tumor spread.

In studies involving mice with prostate cancer, the researchers had the radiotracer hone in on prostate-specific antigen (PSA), the same prostate cancer marker used in the PSA test. They found that the PSA gravitated to tissues containing prostate cancer that had already grown resistant to standard hormone-based therapies.

The study also revealed the radiotracer could help identify cases where prostate cancer had spread to the bone. The researchers pointed out traditional bone scans are unable to differentiate between malignant and nonmalignant lesions.

The findings were to be presented Saturday at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in Chicago, and are also being published in Cancer Discovery.

If used on people, the researchers claimed that the radiotracer might someday help doctors "personalize" treatment strategies for prostate cancer and better manage the disease.

"The ultimate goal is to be able to predict the response of patients to new and existing therapies at an early stage, thereby personalizing their treatment and improving outcomes," Michael J. Evans, research fellow in the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, explained in meeting news re
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