Avoiding delays is particularly important, he says, for people with moderate to advanced stages of the disease, when liver tumors are too large or too numerous to surgically remove, and for whom chemoembolization is the main treatment option. Half of such liver cancer patients succumb within nine months, and liver transplantation is only an option for a quarter of those whose tumors have not spread outside the liver.
The newer DPCBCT scans, in which X-rays are detected by a device the size of a large laptop that can be placed directly below or above the operating room table, have the added advantage of being performed in the same room, or interventional radiology suite, as patients getting chemoembolization.
In their new study, Geschwind and his colleagues found that the initial shrinkage seen with DPCBCT scans taken before and after chemoembolization matched up almost perfectly with MRI scans taken a month later. Tumor death was 95 percent, the same as that seen by MRI. A total of 47 tumors were closely monitored in the study to assess how well DPCBCT tracked tumor death after chemoembolization.
All study participants were treated at The Johns Hopkins Hospital between March and December 2009.
In DPCBCT scanning, a chemical contrast dye is injected into the artery that supplies blood flow to the liver and tumor right before the chemotherapy drug is injected, to enhance the X-ray image. The first set of scans highlights key blood vessels feeding the tumor, as dye flows in and out of the tumor. The second set of scans is performed immediately after chemoembolization, to gauge tumor and key blood vessel death. Computer software is used to sharpen and analyze differences between the images.
The entire DPCBCT scanning time, researchers say, is between 20 seconds and 30 seconds, and the total amount of radiation exposure from the dual scanning averages 3.08 milliseiverts, which is less than
|Contact: David March|
Johns Hopkins Medicine