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

Lightvision near-infrared fluorescence imaging system
News | Women's Health | September 11, 2018
Shimadzu Corp.
The Siemens Biograph Vision PET-CT system was released in mid-2018.

The Siemens Biograph Vision PET-CT system was released in mid-2018.

Feature | Nuclear Imaging | September 07, 2018 | By Dave Fornell
Nuclear imaging technology for both single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography...
PET Imaging Agent Predicts Brain Tau Pathology, Alzheimer's Diagnosis
News | PET Imaging | September 05, 2018
Eli Lilly and Co. and Avid Radiopharmaceuticals Inc. announced a Phase 3 study of positron emission tomography (PET)...
Check-Cap Announces Interim Results of European Study of C-Scan System Version 3
News | Colonoscopy Systems | September 04, 2018
Check-Cap Ltd. announced the interim results for its post-CE approval study of the C-Scan system Version 3, an...
Brain Iron Levels May Predict Multiple Sclerosis Disabilities
News | Neuro Imaging | August 31, 2018
A new, highly accurate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique can monitor iron levels in the brains of multiple...
Study Finds Multiple Sclerosis Drug Slows Brain Shrinkage

An NIH-funded clinical trial suggested that the anti-inflammatory drug ibudilast may slow brain shrinkage caused by progressive MS. Image courtesy of Robert J. Fox, M.D., Cleveland Clinic.

News | Neuro Imaging | August 30, 2018
August 30, 2018 — Results from a clinical...
Rapid Cardiac MRI Technique May Cut Costs, Boost Care in Developing World
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | August 29, 2018
A newly developed rapid imaging protocol quickly and cheaply diagnosed heart ailments in patients in Peru, according to...
Brain Study of 62,454 Scans Identifies Drives of Brain Aging
News | SPECT Imaging | August 27, 2018
In the largest known brain imaging study, scientists from five institutions evaluated 62,454 brain single photon...
Abnormal Protein Concentrations Found in Brains of Military Personnel With Suspected CTE

Researchers are using the tracer, which is injected into a patient, then seen with a PET scan, to see if it is possible to diagnose chronic traumatic encephalopathy in living patients. In this image, warmer colors indicate a higher concentration of the tracer, which binds to abnormal proteins in the brain. Credit UCLA Health.

News | PET Imaging | August 24, 2018
August 24, 2018 — In a small study of
Radiation Therapy Affects Event Recall for Children With Brain Tumors
News | Radiation Therapy | August 24, 2018
Children with certain types of brain tumors who undergo radiation treatment are less likely to recall the specifics of...
Overlay Init