Researchers from the SHFJ IMIV laboratory (Inserm 1023/CNRS/CEA/UP-Sud) have shown that automatic quantitative measurements of tumour spread detected in whole body PET images can be used to predict how a tumour stabilizes in the body without progressing. The work is published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.
Whole-body Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging is routinely employed to characterize the extent of cancer progression. Tumour spread is usually described by the TNM (Tumor-Node-Metastasis) stage, an international system for classifying cancers. Although radiometric analysis techniques, aimed at extracting sophisticated indices from medical images, can be used as reliable markers, the SHFJ team’s technique provides simple, intuitive biomarkers to quantitatively describe tumour extension from PET images.
The method can automatically detect tumour foci from 18F-FDG (fluorodeoxyglucose) whole body PET images and then calculate indices describing the distribution of the detected foci, such as the greatest distance between two of them.
The researchers, led by Irène Buvat, tested their approach on a cohort of 95 patients being treated for advanced type B lymphoma. The results show that the calculated tumour spread index is highly correlated with progression-free survival and overall patient survival.
By combining this index with the total tumour volume, it is possible to classify different patient groups and predict their survival, they say. The advantages of this new imaging biomarker are that it is simple and that the results are extremely easy to interpret.
Read the research paper: Cottereau AS, Nioche C, Dirand AS, Clerc J, Morschhauser F, Casasnovas O, Meignan MA, Buvat I. 18F-FDG-PET dissemination features in diffuse large B cell lymphoma are prognostic of outcome. J Nucl Med. jnumed.119.229450