Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Post-treatment PET Scans Can Reassure Cervical Cancer Patients

Date:
November 21, 2007
Source:
Washington University in St. Louis
Summary:
Whole-body PET scans done three months after completion of cervical cancer therapy can ensure that patients are disease-free or warn that further interventions are needed, according to a new study.

Whole-body PET (positron emission tomography) scans done three months after completion of cervical cancer therapy can ensure that patients are disease-free or warn that further interventions are needed, according to a study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

"This is the first time we can say that we have a reliable test to follow cervical cancer patients after therapy," says Julie K. Schwarz, M.D., Ph.D., a Barnes-Jewish Hospital resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology. "We ask them to come back for a follow-up visit about three months after treatment is finished, and we perform a PET scan. If the scan shows a complete response to treatment, we can say with confidence that they are going to do extremely well. That's really powerful."

Without a test like PET, it can be difficult to tell whether treatment has eliminated cervical tumors, Schwarz says. That's because small tumors are hard to detect with pelvic exams, and overt symptoms, such as leg swelling, don't occur until tumors grow quite large. Furthermore, CT and MRI scans often don't differentiate tumor tissue from surrounding tissues, Pap tests can be inaccurate because of tissue changes induced by radiation therapy, and no blood test exists to detect the presence of cervical cancer.

Cancerous tumors glow brightly in the PET scans used in the study, called FDG-PET scans, which detect emissions from radioactively tagged blood sugar, or glucose. Tumor tissue traps more of the glucose than does normal tissue, making tumors readily discernable.

Not only can post-treatment PET scans reassure those patients whose tumors respond well to therapy, they can also identify those patients whose tumors have not responded so that their physicians can explore other treatment options before the cancer advances further. These options can include surgery to remove tissue, standard chemotherapy or experimental therapies available through clinical trials.

"Follow-up PET scans can also be very useful tools for physicians conducting clinical trials of new therapies," Schwarz says. "Our study has shown that the scans are predictive of long-term survival. Using PET scans, clinical researchers can get an early readout of how effective experimental treatments might be."

Schwarz and colleagues also have a project to compare follow-up PET results with tumor biology to find out why some tumors don't respond well to therapy. In a study that won her a Resident Clinical Basic Science Research Award from the American Society for Therapeutic Radiation and Oncology, a global organization of medical professionals, Schwarz found differences in gene activity between tumors from patients that responded well and those that had persistent disease. Ongoing research will look for the significance of these differences.

The study's senior author, Perry Grigsby, M.D., professor of radiation oncology, of nuclear medicine and of obstetrics and gynecology and a radiation oncologist with the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, has overseen a patient database that now has PET images and tumor samples from hundreds of cervical cancer patients.

"We have a tremendous database of PET images collected from patients in the department since 1998," Schwarz says. "We want to combine these results with analyses of tumor biopsies so that we can more effectively choose additional therapies for patients who haven't responded to the initial treatment."

Journal reference: Schwarz JK, Siegel BA, Dehdashti F, Grigsby PW. Association of posttherapy positron emission tomography with tumor response and survival in cervical carcinoma. Journal of the American Medical Association, November 21, 2007.

Funding from the Department of Radiology and the Department of Radiation Oncology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis supported this research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Washington University in St. Louis. "Post-treatment PET Scans Can Reassure Cervical Cancer Patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071120195714.htm>.
Washington University in St. Louis. (2007, November 21). Post-treatment PET Scans Can Reassure Cervical Cancer Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071120195714.htm
Washington University in St. Louis. "Post-treatment PET Scans Can Reassure Cervical Cancer Patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071120195714.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins