Scientists use PET to predict increased survival in cancer patients after first chemo cycle

Dr. Fritz EilberResearchers from UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have found that by administering a PET scan to individuals with soft-tissue sarcomas after just a single cycle of neoadjuvant chemotherapy, they can predict increased survival in these patients.

Prior research by this multidisciplinary team of physician-scientists had shown that a combined PET/CT scan using a glucose uptake probe called FDG allowed them to determine the pathologic response of patients’ tumours after the first dose of chemotherapy drugs. They then wondered if the patients who showed a significant PET response after the first round of chemotherapy also were surviving longer.

‘We did find that patients who experienced an early PET response to treatment had significantly increased survival,’ said the study’s senior author, Dr. Fritz Eilber, an associate professor of surgical oncology and director of the Jonsson Cancer Center’s sarcoma program. ‘This is vital because patients want to know if the drugs are working and what that says about their ultimate outcome.’
In the study, 39 patients with soft-tissue sarcoma underwent a PET scan to measure their tumour