New PET imaging clinical trial to improve early esophageal, lung cancer detection

March 13, 2016

The new study is recruiting 100 patients with esophageal or lung cancer. They will receive FLT-PET prior to radiation and chemotherapy, then again three weeks later, along with several other routine diagnostic procedures. With FLT-PET, the patient is injected with the FLT tracer and then given a PET scan. The PET machine creates a three-dimensional image of the tumor area based on the distribution of the tracer. Investigators will compare and evaluate the FLT-PET results to standard pathological assessment based on surgical specimens.

Investigators will determine whether the experimental method is more effective than the standard PET technique. The traditional FDG tracer is an analog for sugar and shows how sugar is metabolized in the patient's body. By contrast, FLT is an analog for an organic compound called pyrimidine, which is the building block of DNA synthesis. Dr. Chao explains that the latter approach is much more sensitive and better able pick up on cancer cell activity. He cites early non-clinical studies showing that FLT is able to detect significant changes in tumor proliferation as soon as one day after treatment.

Source: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital