Using two successive pairs of specialized CT scans, a team of Johns Hopkins and Dutch radiologists has produced real-time images of liver tumors dying from direct injection of anticancer drugs into the tumors and their surrounding blood vessels. Within a minute, the images showed whether the targeted chemotherapy did or did not choke off the tumors' blood supply and saved patients a month of worry about whether the treatment, known as chemoembolization, was working or not, and whether repeat or more powerful treatments were needed.
The Johns Hopkins team's report about this novel use of dual-phase cone-bean computed tomography, or DPCBCT, an imaging technique developed at Johns Hopkins, is set to appear in the January 2013 edition of the journal Radiology. The diagnostic scans were performed on 27 men and women with inoperable liver cancer.
"This new scanning method is giving us almost instant feedback about the value of injecting antitumor drugs directly into large liver tumors and their surrounding blood vessels in an effort to quickly kill them, and to prevent the cancer from spreading," says senior study investigator and interventional radiologist Jean-Francois Geschwind, M.D.
Geschwind says if further testing proves equally successful, the paired use of cone-beam CT scans, which are already approved for single-scan use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, could supplant the current practice of MRI scanning a month after chemoembolization to check its effects.
"Patients should not have to endure the uncertainty of waiting weeks or more to find out if their chemoembolization was successful in fighting their liver cancer," says Geschwind, a professor in the Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Kimmel Cancer Center.
"Dual-phase cone-beam CT avoids such delays, which also could allow the cancer to grow and spread and, ultimately, compromise
|Contact: David March|
Johns Hopkins Medicine