News | PET Imaging | June 29, 2016

PET Scans Can Spare Lymphoma Patients Intensive Chemo

Nuclear scans allow U.K. researchers to assess patient response to key drug treatment

University of Southampton, Hodgkin lymphoma, chemotherapy response, bleomycin

June 29, 2016 — Hodgkin lymphoma patients can be spared the serious side effects of chemotherapy thanks to high-tech scans that can predict the outcome of treatment, according to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study was led by Prof. Peter Johnson, M.D., professor of medical oncology at the University of Southampton.

Doctors funded by Cancer Research UK and international partners in Europe and Australasia used positron emission tomography (PET) to scan more than 1,200 patients with advanced Hodgkin lymphoma after they had been given two cycles of standard chemotherapy.

Those who had a clear PET scan were split into two groups – one group continued with chemotherapy including the drug bleomycin and the other had chemotherapy without the drug.

They found that patients who stopped having bleomycin had the same survival rates as those who continued it. But, importantly, they were spared side effects.

Patients on the trial who did not have a clear PET scan after two rounds of chemotherapy, suggesting they had a more resistant form of the disease, were given more intense chemotherapy treatment.

Bleomycin has been an important drug to treat Hodgkin lymphoma for 30 years, but it has a potential risk of severe effects on the lungs, with the risk of scarring, even years later, that can lead to serious breathing problems.

Due to these risks the researchers wanted to explore the potential of adapting treatment by stopping bleomycin for patients with a good outlook and escalating treatment only for those at highest risk of the treatment not working.

Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician based at the University of Southampton who led the study, said: “The good news is that the majority of people diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma can be cured – in this trial more than 95 percent of patients are alive after three years. But we worry about the long-term side effects from the treatments we use. As we’ve done in this trial, personalizing treatment based on how well it works is a major development for patients with Hodgkin lymphoma, and sets a new standard of care.

“Knowing which patients have a more difficult-to-treat form of the disease means we can select those who need stronger chemotherapy, while sparing everyone else the severe side effects such as infertility. This approach, along with a reduction in the need for radiotherapy, should substantially reduce damage to healthy tissues and the risk of second cancers caused by treatments.”

Sally Barrington, clinical lead of the UK National Cancer Research Institute PET lab at Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust, London said: “We have made a big investment in developing and using PET scans to select the best treatments for our patients in the U.K., and this trial conducted in seven different countries is a great example of how we can work together to help patients have healthier lives beyond cancer.”

The trial was run from the Cancer Research UK and UCL Cancer Trials Centre.

For more information: www.nejm.org

Related Content

Noninvasive Radioablation Offers Long-term Benefits to High-risk Heart Arrhythmia Patients
News | Radiation Therapy | September 17, 2019
September 17, 2019 — Treating high-risk heart patients with a single, high dose of...
Long-term Hormone Therapy Increases Mortality Risk for Low-PSA Men After Prostate Surgery
News | Prostate Cancer | September 16, 2019
Secondary analysis of a recent clinical trial that changed the standard of care for men with recurring prostate cancer...
ASNC Announces Multisocietal Cardiac Amyloidosis Imaging Consensus
News | Cardiac Imaging | September 09, 2019
September 9, 2019 — The American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) published a new expert consensus document along
A 3-D printed tungsten pre-clinical X-ray system collimator. 3D printed, additive manufacturing for medical imaging.

A 3-D printed tungsten pre-clinical X-ray system collimator. The tungsten alloy powder is printed into the form desired and is laser fused so it can be machined and finished. Previously, making collimators from Tungsten was labor intensive because it required working with sheets of the metal to create the collimator matrix. 

Feature | Medical 3-D Printing | September 04, 2019 | By Steve Jeffery
In ...
News | Contrast Media | September 03, 2019
Researchers in South Korea have found that patients with family and personal history of allergic reactions to contrast...
A SPECT nuclear scan of the heart to show perfusion defects in the myocardium due to coronary artery blockages or heart attack. The imaging uses the Mo-99 based medical imaging isotope Tc-99m. The U.S. government has created policy to move away from use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) to low-enriched uranium (LEU) for Mo-99 isotope production, but there is one hold out who has not yet converted before a 2020 deadline. Photo courtesy of Philips Healthcare.

A SPECT nuclear scan of the heart to show perfusion defects in the myocardium due to coronary artery blockages or heart attack. The imaging uses the Mo-99 based medical imaging isotope Tc-99m. The U.S. government has created policy to move away from use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) to low-enriched uranium (LEU) for Mo-99 isotope production, but there is one holdout who has not yet converted before a 2020 deadline. Photo courtesy of Philips Healthcare.

Feature | Nuclear Imaging | August 30, 2019 | Dave Fornell, Editor
In a surprising move, the National Institute for Radioelements (IRE) has applied for a new license to export highly e
An example of a treatment plan for radio-ablation of the heart to noninvasively treat cardiac arrhythmias. This concept is one of the key presentations at the 2019 ASTRO meeting. Image courtesy of Cyberheart. #ASTRO19 #ASTRO2019 #ASTRO

An example of a treatment plan for radio-ablation of the heart to noninvasively treat cardiac arrhythmias. This concept is one of the key presentations at the 2019 ASTRO meeting. Image courtesy of Cyberheart.

Feature | ASTRO | August 29, 2019
University of Alabama at Birmingham Leading Production of Theranostic Radioisotope

Image courtesy of the University of Alabama at Birmingham

News | Radiopharmaceuticals and Tracers | August 29, 2019
The University of Alabama at Birmingham, in conjunction with researchers at the University of Wisconsin and Argonne...
FDA Encourages Inclusion of Male Patients in Breast Cancer Clinical Trials
News | Women's Health | August 26, 2019
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a new draft guidance that encourages including male patients in...
Moffitt Researchers Develop Model to Personalize Breast Cancer Radiation Treatment
News | Radiation Therapy | August 26, 2019
A personalized approach to cancer treatment has become more common over the last several decades, with numerous...