Nav: Home

Molecular imaging holds promise for early intervention in common uterine cancer

October 01, 2009

Reston, Va.--A promising new molecular imaging technique may provide physicians and patients with a noninvasive way to learn more information about a type of cancer of the uterus lining called "endometrial carcinoma"--one of the most common malignant female tumors. This research was presented in a study published in the October issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

"Endometrial carcinoma is one of the most common female malignant tumors," says Hidehiko Okazawa, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the division of medical imaging at the biomedical imaging research center at the University of Fukui in Japan and one of the lead researchers of the study. "The method of positron emission tomography (PET) imaging we used in the study is noninvasive, and it has tremendous potential to save women with endometrial carcinoma from undergoing unnecessary operations and biopsies that could sabotage their reproductive potential."

If the disease is caught early enough, the five-year survival rate is higher than 90% for patients with endometrial carcinoma. PET imaging may provide physicians with a tool that lets them recognize the extent of the disease before it reaches advanced stages.

This study shows that PET is a promising molecular imaging technique for personalized therapy. Molecular imaging and nuclear medicine provide the possibility of determining the invasiveness and aggressiveness of malignant tumors in the uterus earlier on, before disease progresses. With this technique, physicians gain the advantage of a more precise diagnosis along with the ability to better predict the tumor's growth patterns and plan for the most appropriate therapeutic treatment strategy.

"The article in the JNM from Dr. Tsujikawa and colleagues provides an example of the unique capacity of molecular imaging to measure in vivo cancer biology," says David A. Mankoff, M.D., Ph.D., professor of radiology, medicine and bioengineering at the University of Washington and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in Seattle. "Most notably, it shows how imaging multiple facets of tumor phenotype--in this case, estrogen receptor expression and glucose metabolism--can provide insight into the clinical behavior of cancer. The broad implication of this study, and other similar studies that have tested PET and molecular imaging to characterize cancer characteristics, is that imaging can help direct cancer patients toward optimized, individualized treatments."

In the study, the researchers used a specialized form of PET imaging called "estrogen receptor expression imaging" for 22 patients with endometrial adenocarcinoma and nine patients with endometrial hyperplasia (a thickening of the uterine lining that is a risk factor for developing endometrial cancer) to evaluate diagnostic accuracy. All patients underwent preoperative PET scans with 18F-fluoroestradiol (18F-FES)--a tracer that has been successfully used in diagnosing breast cancer--and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) to compare differences in tracer accumulation.

The researchers confirmed that endometrial carcinoma reduces estrogen dependency with accelerated glucose metabolism as it progresses to a higher stage or grade. By combining the two tracers, researchers were able to use a new index of uptake ratio that can better predict pathologic stages and aggressiveness of tumors. The results of the study were encouraging, with the combined techniques having 86% accuracy.

For endocrine-related tumors (including endometrial cancer), tumors vary from well-differentiated and close in character to the tissue of origin to poorly differentiated tumors, which are aggressive and bear less resemblance to the tissue of origin. The well-differentiated tumors tend to be more slow-growing and less aggressive than poorly differentiated tumors. They also retain their endocrine function and/or responsiveness.

For endometrial cancer, estrogen receptor expression is related to endocrine responsiveness and indicated by FES uptake. Poorly differentiated tumors often have increased and abnormal breakdown of glucose, indicated by FDG. The combination of the two, as indicated by the study, was better than either alone at indicating the aggressiveness of the tumor.

Personalized cancer therapy involves treatment that is individualized for patients based on patient characteristics and the tumor's biology. By studying the tumor's properties, physicians can predict the tumor's path and formulate the best strategy for treating the disease.

-end-

Co-authors of "Functional Images Reflect Aggressiveness of Endometrial Carcinoma: Estrogen Receptor Expression Combined with 18F-FDG PET" include Tetsuya Tsujikawa, Takashi Kudo, Yasushi Kiyono, Masato Kobayashi, Yasuhisa Fujibayashi, Biomedical Imaging Research Center, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Fukui, Fukui, Japan; Yoshio Yoshida, Fumikazu Kotsuji, Tetsuji Kurokawa, Department of Gynecology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Fukui, Fukui, Japan; and Tatsuro Tsuchida, Department of Radiology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Fukui, Fukui, Japan.

About SNM--Advancing Molecular Imaging and Therapy

SNM is an international scientific and medical organization dedicated to raising public awareness about what molecular imaging is and how it can help provide patients with the best health care possible. SNM members specialize in molecular imaging, a vital element of today's medical practice that adds an additional dimension to diagnosis, changing the way common and devastating diseases are understood and treated.

SNM's more than 17,000 members set the standard for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine practice by creating guidelines, sharing information through journals and meetings and leading advocacy on key issues that affect molecular imaging and therapy research and practice. For more information, visit http://www.snm.org.

Society of Nuclear Medicine

Related Cancer Articles:

Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
Cancer genomics continued: Triple negative breast cancer and cancer immunotherapy
Continuing PLOS Medicine's special issue on cancer genomics, Christos Hatzis of Yale University, New Haven, Conn., USA and colleagues describe a new subtype of triple negative breast cancer that may be more amenable to treatment than other cases of this difficult-to-treat disease.
Metabolite that promotes cancer cell transformation and colorectal cancer spread identified
Osaka University researchers revealed that the metabolite D-2-hydroxyglurate (D-2HG) promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition of colorectal cancer cells, leading them to develop features of lower adherence to neighboring cells, increased invasiveness, and greater likelihood of metastatic spread.
UH Cancer Center researcher finds new driver of an aggressive form of brain cancer
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers have identified an essential driver of tumor cell invasion in glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer that can occur at any age.
UH Cancer Center researchers develop algorithm to find precise cancer treatments
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers developed a computational algorithm to analyze 'Big Data' obtained from tumor samples to better understand and treat cancer.
New analytical technology to quantify anti-cancer drugs inside cancer cells
University of Oklahoma researchers will apply a new analytical technology that could ultimately provide a powerful tool for improved treatment of cancer patients in Oklahoma and beyond.
Radiotherapy for lung cancer patients is linked to increased risk of non-cancer deaths
Researchers have found that treating patients who have early stage non-small cell lung cancer with a type of radiotherapy called stereotactic body radiation therapy is associated with a small but increased risk of death from causes other than cancer.
Cancer expert says public health and prevention measures are key to defeating cancer
Is investment in research to develop new treatments the best approach to controlling cancer?
UI Cancer Center, Governors State to address cancer disparities in south suburbs
The University of Illinois Cancer Center and Governors State University have received a joint four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to help both institutions conduct community-based research to reduce cancer-related health disparities in Chicago's south suburbs.
Leading cancer research organizations to host international cancer immunotherapy conference
The Cancer Research Institute, the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy, the European Academy of Tumor Immunology, and the American Association for Cancer Research will join forces to sponsor the first International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York, Sept.

Best Science Podcasts 2017

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2017. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Oliver Sipple
One morning, Oliver Sipple went out for a walk. A couple hours later, to his own surprise, he saved the life of the President of the United States. But in the days that followed, Sipple's split-second act of heroism turned into a rationale for making his personal life into political opportunity. What happens next makes us wonder what a moment, or a movement, or a whole society can demand of one person. And how much is too much?
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Future Consequences
From data collection to gene editing to AI, what we once considered science fiction is now becoming reality. This hour, TED speakers explore the future consequences of our present actions. Guests include designer Anab Jain, futurist Juan Enriquez, biologist Paul Knoepfler, and neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris.