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FDG-PET imaging clearly predicts lung cancer patients' response to chemotherapy

RESTON, Va. -- An earlier indication of whether chemotherapy benefits nonsmall cell lung cancer patientsprovided by positron emission tomography (PET) imagingcan guide doctors in offering them better care, according to researchers in the May Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Our study demonstrates that patients who respond to chemotherapy can be identified early in the course of their treatment, and these patients will generally exhibit prolonged overall survival, explained Claude Nahmias, professor of radiology and medicine at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. Although we studied a relatively small number of patientsand our results should be interpreted with cautionit is clear that a repeat PET study with the radiotracer fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) at the end of the first cycle of chemotherapy would allow the identification of those patients for whom the therapy was futile, he said. The ability to provide an early indication of therapeutic response has the potential to improve patient care by identifying those patients who do not benefit from their current treatment, explained Nahmias. Patients would benefit from either having chemotherapy and its associated toxic side effects stopped or going on to a different, and hopefully more adequate, therapeutic approach, added the co-author of Time Course of Early Response to Chemotherapy in NonSmall Cell Lung Cancer Patients With 18F-FDG PET/CT.

Nonsmall cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer, usually growing and spreading more slowly than small cell lung cancer. Lung cancer is the second most common cancer and the most common cause of cancer-related death in both men and women in the United States. In 2007, about 213,380 new cases of lung cancer (both small cell and non-small cell) are expected in the United States, and about 160,390 people will die of this disease. For most patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer, current treatments do not cure the cancer.

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Contact: Maryann Verrillo
mverrillo@snm.org
703-652-6773
Society of Nuclear Medicine
9-May-2007


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