A tool that combines radioactive tagging with existing imaging technology may be able to help physicians visualize prostate cancer progress.
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Michael J. Evans, Ph.D., research fellow in the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, N.Y., and colleagues have developed a system that may advance personalized treatment of prostate cancer.
The tool uses what's called a prostate-cancer specific radiotracer, which is a compound that's been tagged with a tiny amount of radioactive substance.
The patient is injected with the radiotracer, which highlights the tumor so it's easier to see and examine with positron emission tomography (PET).
For this study, Evans and his team analyzed 89Zr-5A10, the first radiotracer that targets the free prostate-specific antigen (PSA) biomarker (indicates presence of disease).
Evans explained, “Once injected, the use of 89Zr-5A10 allows physicians to measure different biological properties among metastatic lesions within the same patient, which a serum biomarker cannot achieve.”
The radiotracer was tested in a group of mice that had PSA-positive prostate cancer. It traveled to the tumor tissue and measured the response to a specific drug therapy.
89Zr-5A10 also distinguished cancerous and noncancerous bone lesions that had spread (metastasized) from the primary tumor, something traditional bone scans can't accomplish.
E. David Crawford, M.D., head of Urologic Oncology at the University of Colorado, Denver, explained what this all means. "The path to the future in prostate cancer will be paved by advances in imaging, Dr. Crawford told dailyRx.
"Gone will be invasive biopsies and aggressive local therapies. We are already witnessing the less aggressive treatments with our version of the male lumpectomy, just treating the cancer and not the entire prostate gland," said Dr. Crawford, who is a professor of Surgery/Urology/Radiation Oncology.
"This new test is a trailblazer in that one can imagine its use for both imaging and then treatment. But, it is the first generation and much more progress is needed," Dr. Crawford said.
Based on the success of this pre-clinical work, Evans and colleagues hope to launch a human clinical trial by 2013.
Results of this study were published in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and presented at AACR Annual Meeting 2012.