A Stanford University School of Medicine team has developed a PET imaging agent that can predict the response of a tumor to a lung cancer drug with over 80% accuracy. The drug will give more confidence to patients and help oncologists manage their patients better. A patient who responds well to the medication will undergo a PET scan to show the high signal from the tracer.
Patients who show low signals do not respond to treatment by this drug. Therefore, they will have to be treated using other treatment options. Biopsies help oncologists with information on what mutations are present, but they cannot capture the spectrum of mutations present in the mass accurately. They cannot characterize mutations that are present in multiple tumors like those that have already spread to other body parts.
Here are the characteristics of the drug:
- Once the F-MPG tracer is injected, it travels through all parts of the patient’s body and attaches itself to any mutated epidermal growth factor proteins and then emits gamma rays that will reveal the protein’s location and mutational details.
- The F-MPG PET technique provides more comprehensive information on the primary tumor’s mutational status.
According to the clinical trial at Harbin Medical University in China to test the imaging agent;
- Of the seventy-five participants injected with F-MPG, 80% of them had a positive response to the drug by having the tumor shrunk.
- Six percent of the participants who lacked PET evidence of the mutation also benefited from the drug.
It may take up to five years for F-MPG to become the standard for predicting the efficacy of lung cancer treatment. A multi-center prospective trial will need to be done in order to build more evidence that the PET tracer can work as predicted in the clinical trial with 75 patients.