Positron Emission Tomography As an Imaging Biomarker
Positron emission tomography (PET) allows noninvasive, quantitative studies of various biologic processes in the tumor tissue. By using PET, investigators can study the pharmacokinetics of anticancer drugs, identify various therapeutic targets and monitor the inhibition of these targets during therapy. Furthermore, PET provides various markers to assess tumor response early in the course of therapy. A significant number of studies have now shown that changes in tumor glucose utilization during the first weeks of chemotherapy are significantly correlated with patient outcome. These data suggest that PET may be used as a sensitive test to assess the activity of new cytotoxic agents in phase II studies. Furthermore, early identification of nonresponding tumors provides the opportunity to adjust treatment regimens according to the individual chemosensitivity of the tumor tissue. However, further prospective and randomized validation of PET is still required before PET controlled chemotherapy can be used in clinical practice.