Imaging Cellular Proliferation During Chemo-Radiotherapy: A Pilot Study of Serial 18F-FLT Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography Imaging for Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Sarah Jane Everitt, Rodney Hicks, David Ball, Tomas Kron, Michal Elisabeth Schneider-Kolsky, Tania Walter, David Binns, Michael MacManus

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PURPOSE: To establish whether (18)F-3 -deoxy-3 -fluoro-l-thymidine ((18)F-FLT) can monitor changes in cellular proliferation of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) during radical chemo-radiotherapy (chemo-RT). METHODS AND MATERIALS: As part of a prospective pilot study, 5 patients with locally advanced NSCLC underwent serial (18)F-FLT positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) scans during treatment. Baseline (18)F-FLT PET/CT scans were compared with routine staging (18)F-FDG PET/CT scans. Two on-treatment (18)F-FLT scans were performed for each patient on Days 2, 8, 15 or 29, providing a range of time points for response assessment. RESULTS: In all 5 patients, baseline lesional uptake of (18)F-FLT on PET/CT corresponded to staging (18)F-FDG PET/CT abnormalities. (18)F-FLT uptake in tumor was observed on five of nine (55 ) on-treatment scans, on Days 2, 8 and 29, but not Day 15. A flare of (18)F-FLT uptake in the primary tumor of one case was observed after 2 Gy of radiation (1.22 x baseline). The remaining eight on-treatment scans demonstrated a mean reduction in (18)F-FLT tumor uptake of 0.58 x baseline. A marked reduction of (18)F-FLT uptake in irradiated bone marrow was observed for all cases. This reduction was observed even after only 2 Gy, and all patients demonstrated a complete absence of proliferating marrow after 10 Gy. CONCLUSIONS: This proof of concept study indicates that (18)F-FLT uptake can monitor the distinctive biologic responses of epithelial cancers and highly radiosensitive normal tissue changes during radical chemo-RT. Further studies of (18)F-FLT PET/CT imaging during therapy may suggest that this tracer is useful in developing response-adapted RT for NSCLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1098 - 1104
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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