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PET Imaging Identifies Aggressive Kidney Cancers That Require Surgery

The ability to identify an individual’s specific tumor type prior to surgery could have important implications for the management of patients diagnosed with kidney cancer.// A newly published study demonstrates that imaging with Positron Emission Tomography (PET) using a radiolabeled antibody accurately identifies whether a patient has clear cell renal carcinoma – the most common and aggressive type of renal tumor – and arms the urologist with crucial information that will help determine whether surgery is needed.

“This work represents the first prospective clinical trial to determine whether PET using a radiolabeled antibody is sensitive and specific enough to permit identification of clear cell renal carcinoma,” said the study’s lead author, Chaitanya Divgi, MD, who is now Chief of Nuclear Medicine and Clinical Molecular Imaging at the University of Pennsylvania.

In the study, the researchers used the radiolabeled monoclonal antibody G250, which was originally developed as a potential therapeutic agent by study co-author Lloyd J. Old, MD, Director of the New York Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR), and an investigator at MSKCC. G250 has since been shown to target and bind to clear cell renal carcinoma and to react against an enzyme that is present in 94 percent of these cancers. Studies have also demonstrated that renal carcinoma has the highest recorded tumor uptake for G250 of any solid tumor, making the antibody ideal for use with PET imaging for this disease.

PET is a highly specialized, noninvasive imaging technique that uses short-lived radioactive substances to produce three-dimensional color images of those substances functioning within the body. Unlike CT (computerized tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which provide anatomic images, PET scanning provides information about the body's chemistry, metabolic activity, and body function not available through other procedures.
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