News | July 30, 2014

Hidden Information Behind Imaging Tests for Cancer May Unlock New Approaches to Radiation Therapy

Emerging field of radiomics can provide insights into cancer treatment success

Radiomics uses computer algorithms to pull out data from imaging to use in automated diagnosis and risk stratification, which otherwise is not evident to the human eye.Dave Fornell

July 30, 2014 — Information hidden in imaging tests could help doctors more accurately choose the radiation therapy dose needed to kill tumors, suggests a study of more than 300 cancer patients presented at the 56th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM).

The research is the largest study to date to use radiomics — extracting statistical information from images and other measurements — to help predict the likely progression of cancer or its response to treatment based on positron emission tomography (PET) scans of patients with non-small-cell lung cancer and head and neck cancer.

“Currently, there is a one-size-fits-all process for selecting radiation therapy doses, which might be too much for some patients and not enough for others,” said Joseph Deasy, Ph.D., senior author of the study and chair of the department of medical physics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York. “Radiomics will help us know when we can turn down the treatment intensity with confidence, knowing we can still control the disease.”

In the study, researchers performed positron emission tomography (PET) scans in 163 non-small cell lung cancer patients and 174 head and neck cancer patients before and after treatment. They extracted a variety of information from each tumor, including the intensity value of the PET image, the roughness of the image and other information, such as how round the tumor was. In PET, the brighter an area is, the higher the intensity, showing that the tumor is consuming a greater amount of energy from the injected radioactive glucose substitute tracer.

Comparing the information gleaned from the before and after scans to how the patient fared — including whether the tumor shrank or how long the patient survived — researchers can create models that will help direct future therapy. For example, in the study researchers determined that lung tumors that have a higher uptake of the tracer need to be treated with a higher dose of radiation than is typically prescribed.

“Standard protocol today is to only use PET imaging to define the extent of a tumor to be treated,” said Deasy. “Based on the information from this study, the data would be extracted from those images and put into models that would tell the physician what dose was required to kill the tumor with a high probability.”

He noted that radiomics is a team effort that requires good collaboration between physicians, physicists and computer scientists.

In addition to Deasy, collaborators on the study are: J. Oh, H. Veeraraghavan, A. Apte, A. Rimner, M. Folkert, N. Lee, Z. Kohutek, H. Schoeder, M. Dunphy, J. Humm and S. Nehmeh.

For more information: www.aapm.org

Related Content

The FLASH Effect significantly improves the therapeutic ratio for curing cancer

The FLASH Effect significantly improves the therapeutic ratio for curing cancer

News | Radiation Oncology | July 28, 2021
July 28, 2021 — IntraOp Medical Corporation announced that ...
Recommendations address when and how radiation therapy should be used and outline best practices for patient-centered care

Figure 1. The guideline also includes treatment algorithms for initial local management (Figure 1) and local management following an unplanned excision (Figure 2).

News | Radiation Therapy | July 27, 2021
July 27, 2021 — A ...
The 15-ton compact accelerator is lifted into the David C. Pratt Cancer Center at Mercy St. Louis. (Photo: Business Wire)

The 15-ton compact accelerator is lifted into the David C. Pratt Cancer Center at Mercy St. Louis. (Photo: Business Wire)

News | Radiation Oncology | July 21, 2021
July 23, 2021 — Mevion Medical Systems announced that it has delivered the 15-ton compact accelerator to...
Registration is now open for the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 107th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting, the world’s largest annual radiology forum, to be held at McCormick Place Chicago, Nov. 28 – Dec. 2, 2021

Getty Images

News | RSNA | July 21, 2021
July 21, 2021 — Registration is now open for the Radiological Society of North America (...
ASTRO just issued the following statement in response to the Radiation Oncology Model update in yesterday's HOPPS proposed rule, which compounds significant and detrimental cuts to the cancer care specialty in the proposed 2022 MPFS

Getty Images

News | Radiation Therapy | July 20, 2021
July 20, 2021 — In response to consecutive weeks of proposed...

Positrigo founders Max Ahnen, Ph.D. (left) and Jannis Fischer, Ph.D.

News | PET Imaging | July 16, 2021
Ramon Alfredo Siochi, Ph.D. — the director of medical physics at WVU — led a task group to help ensure the accuracy of data that dictates a cancer patient's radiation therapy.

Ramon Alfredo Siochi, director of medical physics at West Virginia University. Image courtesy of WVU Photo/Aira Burkhart

News | Radiation Oncology | July 15, 2021
July 15, 2021 — Just as helicopter traffic reporters use their "bird's eye view" to route drivers around roadblocks s
A performance evaluation of the uEXPLORER total-body PET/CT scanner showed that it exhibits ultra-high sensitivity that supports excellent spatial resolution and image quality. Given the long axial field of view (AFOV) of the uEXPLORER, study authors have proposed new, extended measurements for phantoms to characterize total-body PET imaging more appropriately. This research was published in the June issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Human imaging examples of performance of uEXPLORER total-body PET scanner. (A) Axial slice from 18F-fluciclovine PET image (right), with corresponding fused image (middle) and CT image (left), of 68-y-old patient with castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer, demonstrating clear visualization of 18F-flucicovine accumulation within 2.5-mm-diameter pulmonary nodule. (B) Maximum-intensity projection of representative clinical oncology 18F-FDG PET scan reconstructed with 20-, 5-, and 2.5-min durations, of 59-y-old patient with lung cancer. Images show primary tumor in left lower lobe of lung (dashed circle), with multiple variable-sized (0.8-6 cm) hilar, mediastinal, and lower esophageal nodal metastases (arrows) and ~1-cm 18FFDG-avid left adrenal nodule (arrowhead), which is visualized for all scan durations. Image created by Y. Abdelhafez and B.A. Spencer, EXPLORER Molecular Imaging Center, UC Davis, Sacramento, CA

News | PET Imaging | July 10, 2021
July 10, 2021 — A performance evaluation of the uEXPLORER total-body PET/CT scanner showed that it exhibits ultra-hig