Feature | May 08, 2015

PET Scan Could Remove Need for Radiotherapy for Cured Patients

U.K. study finds follow-up radiotherapy reduces recurrence rate only marginally while adding side effects

University of Manchester, PET, radiotherapy, cured patients, Hodgkin lymphoma

May 8, 2015 — A U.K. National Cancer Research Institute trial has suggested that in patients with early stage Hodgkin lymphoma, the late effects of radiotherapy could be reduced by using a scan to determine those who actually need it. The trial was led from The University of Manchester and the Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

In a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the scientists show that a positron-emission tomography (PET) scan immediately after treatment with chemotherapy can identify patients who have a very good outcome without additional radiotherapy. Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that develops in the lymphatic system, which is a network of vessels and glands spread throughout the body. Around 1,900 people a year, many of whom are teenagers and young adults, are diagnosed in the U.K.

The current standard treatment is for all Hodgkin lymphoma patients to receive chemotherapy, followed by radiotherapy. However, this radiotherapy comes with undesirable late effects, such as cardiovascular disease and other cancers — despite the fact that they have already been cured of Hodgkin lymphoma.

The 602 patients who agreed to take part in the 'RAPID' trial had a PET scan performed after their chemotherapy. Patients who tested positive received radiotherapy. Those who tested negative were divided into two groups — one group of 211 patients received no further treatment, while the other group of 209 had the standard radiotherapy.

After three years of regular check-ups, the proportion of patients who were alive and free of disease was 94.6 percent in the radiotherapy group, and 90.8 percent in the group which hadn't received further treatment.

Lead researcher, Prof. John Radford, is based at The University of Manchester's Institute of Cancer Sciences and the Christie NHS Foundation Trust. He said: "This research is an important step forward. The results of RAPID show that in early stage Hodgkin lymphoma, radiotherapy after initial chemotherapy marginally reduces the recurrence rate, but this is bought at the expense of exposing to radiation all patients with negative PET findings, most of whom are already cured."

Despite the findings from this study the researchers stress that a longer follow-up period is needed in order to determine whether this approach will ultimately lead to fewer late side-effects and improved overall survival.

The research was funded by Leukemia & Lymphoma Research. Matt Kaiser, M.D., head of research at the charity, said: "This groundbreaking clinical trial shows that, by using scans to predict an individual's risk of relapse, many patients can remain disease-free with just chemotherapy alone. Radiotherapy can cause a range of long-term problems like heart disease and hard-to-treat second cancers. As many Hodgkin lymphoma patients are relatively young, it is particularly important to avoid using intensive treatment when it is unnecessary."

For more information: www.manchester.ac.uk

Related Content

ZON-PTC in Clinical Use With RayStation 8B and Hyperscan
News | Treatment Planning | March 19, 2019
Zuid-Oost Nederland Protonen Therapie Centrum (ZON-PTC), Maastricht, Netherlands, recently treated its first patient...
PET Scans Show Biomarkers Could Spare Some Breast Cancer Patients from Chemotherapy
News | PET Imaging | March 18, 2019
A new study positron emission tomography (PET) scans has identified a biomarker that may accurately predict which...
Researchers Create New Method for Developing Cancer Imaging Isotopes

Prototype fluidic system for zirconium-89 purification. Image taken through a hot cell window at the Department of Radiology, University of Washington. Image courtesy of Matthew O’Hara, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

News | Radiopharmaceuticals and Tracers | March 14, 2019
A team of researchers at the University of Washington announced they developed a new automated system for producing...
What to Expect from the Proton Therapy Market in 2019-2020
News | Proton Therapy | March 13, 2019
The number of new particle therapy rooms ordered worldwide dropped by almost 20 percent in 2018, according to a new...
Mississippi Cancer Center Combines RayStation and TomoTherapy for Prostate Cancer Case
News | Treatment Planning | March 08, 2019
Anderson Regional Cancer Center in Meridian, Miss., has treated its first patient using the combination of RaySearch's...
Siemens Healthineers Announces First U.S. Install of Biograph Vision PET/CT
News | PET-CT | March 06, 2019
Siemens Healthineers’ new Biograph Vision positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) system has been...
Videos | Proton Therapy | March 01, 2019
ITN Associate Editor Jeff Zagoudis speaks with Mark Pankuch, Ph.D., director of physics and dosimetry at the...
Videos | Proton Therapy | February 28, 2019
ITN Associate Editor Jeff Zagoudis speaks with ...
360_NW_Proton_Center_Gantry_Room_Back_THUMBNAIL
360 Photos | 360 View Photos | February 28, 2019
This is a 360 photo view behind the gantry room at the ...
360_NW_Proton_Center_Inclined_Room_THUMBNAIL
360 Photos | 360 View Photos | February 28, 2019
This is a 360 view of Treatment Room 3 (of 4) at the N...