A non-invasive test developed at UCLA shows whether chemotherapy is working after one cycle of the toxic drugs, according to a new study.
"The significance of this study was that it identified people -- more than half of those in the study -- who were not going to benefit from the treatment early in the course of their therapy," Dr. Fritz Eilber, an assistant professor of surgical oncology and director of the Sarcoma Program at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The promising results point toward fine-tuning treatments -- and avoiding the sickening side-effects that often accompany cancer-fighting drugs.
Researchers using PET scans and CT scanners monitored tumors in 50 patients given drugs to shrink tumors prior to surgery. The high-tech look at the tissue provided Eilber with what he called a sort of molecular camera, helping researchers take snapshots of the tumor's metabolic function. The snapshots showed that 28 of the tumors were not shrinking.
"There's no point in giving a patient a treatment that isn't working," Eilber said.
The findings of the study are published in today's issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research.