Barcelona, Spain: Researchers in Australia have shown that positron emission tomography (PET) that uses a radioactive sugar molecule is more useful than mammography and ultrasound in predicting a breast tumours response to chemotherapy and, therefore, the patients ultimate likelihood of survival.
In research presented today (Tuesday) at the European Cancer Conference (ECCO 14) in Barcelona, Dr Vinod Ganju reported that when the scanning procedure was used to measure the accumulation of radioactive glucose fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) in tumour tissue from patients with locally-advanced breast cancer before and after preoperative chemotherapy, women who had the highest accumulation at the beginning and who then had the highest percentage drop in accumulation after four cycles of chemotherapy were more likely to have a complete response to their treatment i.e. no tumour cells remaining in the final tumour resection specimen. However, measurements taken using mammography or ultrasound were not able to predict a pathological response accurately.
FDG-PET works by injecting a sugar molecule (FDG), tagged with a radioactive tracer, into the patient. The molecule is metabolically active and concentrates in tumour tissues where it emits energy that PET scanning can detect. PET measures the standard uptake values (SUVs), in other words, how much FDG has accumulated in the tumour. If the SUVs drop after chemotherapy, this shows that there are fewer, or no, cancer cells available where the FDG can accumulate. This study suggests that tumours with high initial SUVs seem to be more sensitive to chemotherapy, thereby giving a better chance of achieving a reduction or complete removal of the cancer.
Dr Ganju, a medical oncologist for Monash Oncology Research Institute (MORI) and Monash Breast Cancer Research Consortium, Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne, Australia, said: In our study, we were able to show that patients who had higher baseline SUVs and a g
|Contact: Emma Mason|
ECCO-the European CanCer Conference