Researchers identify possible imaging method to stratify breast cancer without biopsy

Dec 17, 2009

Scientists from the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson have discovered a possible way for malignant breast tumors to be identified, without the need for a biopsy. The findings were published online ahead of print in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Current imaging modalities miss up to 30% of breast cancers and cannot distinguish malignant tumors from benign tumors, thus requiring invasive biopsies. Approximately 5.6 million biopsies performed in the United States find only benign lesions. These biopsies cause substantial stress for the patients and have significantly high costs.

"The challenge has been to develop an imaging agent that will target a specific, fingerprint biomarker that visualizes malignant breast lesions early and reliably," said Mathew Thakur, Ph.D., professor of Radiology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and director of Radiopharmaceutical Research and Nuclear Medicine Research.

Dr. Thakur and colleagues studied an agent called 64Cu-TP3805, which is used to evaluate tumors via . 64Cu-TP3805 detects by finding a called VPAC1, which is overexpressed as the tumor develops.

The researchers compared the images using that agent with images using the "gold standard" imaging agent, 18F-FDG. They used MMTVneu mice, which are mice that develop breast tumors spontaneously, like humans. The mice first received a using the 18F-FDG. Then they received a CT scan, and then they received another PET scan using 64Cu-TP3805.

Ten tumors were detected on the mice. Four tumors were detected using both 18F-FDG and 64Cu-TP3805, and four additional tumors were found with 64Cu-TP3805 only. All eight of these tumors overexpressed the VPAC1 oncogene on tumor cells and were malignant by histology. The remaining two tumors were benign and were detected only with 18F-FDG. They did not express the VPAC1 oncogene, and thus were not detected by the 64Cu-TP3805.

"If this ability of 64Cu-TP3805 holds up in humans, then in the future, PET scans with 64Cu-TP3805 will significantly contribute to the management of breast cancer," Dr. Thakur said.

Explore further: Spicy treatment the answer to aggressive cancer?

Related Stories

3-D doppler ultrasound helps identify breast cancer

Oct 21, 2008

Three-dimensional (3-D) power Doppler ultrasound helps radiologists distinguish between malignant and benign breast masses, according to a new study being published in the November issue of Radiology.

Recommended for you

Spicy treatment the answer to aggressive cancer?

13 hours ago

It has been treasured by food lovers for thousands of years for its rich golden colour, peppery flavour and mustardy aroma…and now turmeric may also have a role in fighting cancer.

Cancer survivors who smoke perceive less risk from tobacco

Jul 02, 2015

Cancer survivors who smoke report fewer negative opinions about smoking, have more barriers to quitting, and are around other smokers more often than survivors who had quit before or after their diagnosis, according to a ...

Melanoma mutation rewires cell metabolism

Jul 02, 2015

A mutation found in most melanomas rewires cancer cells' metabolism, making them dependent on a ketogenesis enzyme, researchers at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have discovered.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.