Researchers develop non-invasive technique for predicting patients' response to chemotherapy

November 9, 2012

Dr Astrid van der Veldt (MD, PhD), from the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, told the Symposium: "This finding underscores the fact that only a small amount of drug accumulates in tumours and indicates that there is an urgent need for strategies that selectively enhance to tumours. For that purpose, the direct effects of other, anti-cancer drugs on metabolism as well as drug delivery to tumours need to be investigated, as other drugs may also affect metabolism and drug delivery to tumours."

Until now, there has been no accurate way of assessing how much of an anti-cancer drug is absorbed by a tumour and, therefore, what effect the drug is having on the tumour, without invasive surgery to extract samples.

Dr van der Veldt and her colleagues used an imaging technique called positron (PET) to track very small tracer doses of the anti-cancer drug , which had been radiolabeled with the positron emitting radionuclide carbon-11, in the patient. The was able to follow this tiny [11C]docetaxel dose in the body non-invasively and provide information on how much reached the tumour, the amount absorbed by the tumour and its effect on the tumour (the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of the drug). By using a microdose of docetaxel in this way, the patients were protected from any docetaxel-induced toxic side-effects that could occur if the docetaxel was administered at .