PET/CT predicts colon cancer response

A Danish study published online January 22 in the Oncologist shows that PET/CT and biomarkers can help clinicians predict treatment response in patients with metastatic colon cancer.

Dr. Bodil Engelmann, from Næstved Hospital, and colleagues conducted a prospective study to determine the predictive value of several established biomarkers and FDG-PET/CT in the early response of metastatic colon cancer to treatment with chemotherapy.

A total of 26 metastatic colon cancer patients from a single hospital were included in the study, which involved pretreatment PET/CT imaging and treatment with repeating cycles of chemotherapy. Early and late PET/CT evaluations were performed, along with peripheral blood collection at 20 days after the first treatment cycle and 20 days after the fourth cycle.

When patients were divided into responders and nonresponders, the early metabolic response category assessed by PET could predict the treatment response determined by CT in 73% of cases, with 80% sensitivity and 69% specificity, the group found. Early determination of metabolic nonresponse was significantly predictive of disease progression; nonresponders had more three times the risk of progression than responders.

The findings could alter clinicians' approach to palliative treatment for metastatic colon cancer by allowing them to anticipate unfavorable outcomes soon after treatment starts.

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