AACR LogoIt is indeed fascinating how scientists seem to be discovering new things about various diseases or its possible cure. While they appear extremely vital for us, these findings also seem to be very interesting. The latest research conducted at the Turku PET center in Finland claimed that experts have detected a blood-flow glucose consumption mismatch that apparently predicted pancreatic tumor aggressiveness.

Based on these findings, the research proposed that the affiliation between numerous physiological tumor factors might supply more vital information about a tumor than just looking at any of these parameters alone.

To evaluate tumor aggressiveness, the significance of two physiological parameters in the tumor micro-environment among patients with pancreatic tumors was investigated by Gaber Komar, M.D., research fellow at the Turku PET Center, and his colleagues. Blood flow in the tumor issue and glucose consumption were apparently the parameters that were measured. It could be seen as a measurement of general metabolic activity of a tissue.

Komar commented “Imaging of several of these tumor parameters might be important for the planning and success of oncologic therapies. We believe that a better understanding of these mechanisms may help overcome the general treatment resistance of pancreatic cancer.”

To quantify blood flow and glucose consumption in 26 patients with pancreatic cancer, the researchers used positron emission tomography (PET), a nuclear medicine imaging technique that offers a three-dimensional image of a bodily process. To identify cancer and also to assess cancer response, a PET is most often used for this purpose. It claims to be emerging as a tool for pre-therapy assessment of tumors. While the tumor is still in the body, it lets researchers learn and measure tumor characteristics.

The outcome apparently showed that patients with benign (n=8) and malignant (n=11) tumors had reduced blood flow in the lesion by 48 percent and 60 percent as opposed to patients with normal pancreatic tissue (n=7). The researchers were of the opinion that these findings may help to make it clear as to why some people do not find success in radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Komar commented that he was fairly surprised by the outcome of the research as they did not anticpate seeing a clear association in such a small sample size.

Komar mentioned “The important new step in the future might be the integration of these findings in management of a single tumor and combination of this information with the appropriate therapeutic approach including early monitoring of tumor responsiveness.”

David Mankoff, M.D., Ph.D., professor of radiology, medicine and bioengineering at the University of Washington and an academic physician at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance remarked that this is the latest finding in a string of researches that have claimed that a blood-flow metabolism mismatch in tumor is an indication of a resistant tumor and a predictor of bad result.

Mankoff mentioned “This study confirms that blood flow metabolism mismatch exists in pancreatic tumors, similar to other cancers such as breast and lung cancers, and predicts poor patient outcome. A blood-flow metabolism mismatch by PET appears to be associated with cancer aggressiveness and treatment resistance. We’ve only recently recognized this pattern as a result of advantages in functional imaging methods.”

Mankoff believes that this research only has some repercussions. For the patient to head towards a better result, the researchers have started using new methods such as PET imaging to look at vivo biology that may expose factors that point towards behavior that is more aggressive and recommends new possibilities for treatment. For instance, Mankoff mentioned that the findings identified by Komar and his colleagues may guide the researchers to study the role that tumor tissue oxygenation and hypoxia play in mediating tumor clinical behavior and responsiveness to systemic therapy.

This research was published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.