With the help of advanced imaging techniques and computer modeling, Swiss physicians believe that they’ve found a more effective way of predicting the progression of pleural mesothelioma tumors. Their innovation combines the power of FDG-PET scans and advanced computer programming.
Nuclear Imaging Technique Helps Track Mesothelioma Tumor Growth
As technology has improved, physicians have been better able to see exactly where mesothelioma tumors are growing within the pleural lining of the lungs. CT scan technology has long proven helpful. The machines take thousands of images and put them together to provide a three-dimensional view of the body’s internal structures, but even this ability has been improved upon since the advent of FDG-PET, which adds a tracer that cancer cells absorb, making them even more visible.
As much additional information as these images provide regarding mesothelioma tumors, the new technology also presents a challenge, as not all radiologists are skilled in reading them. The Swiss researchers collected scans and survival data from dozens of mesothelioma patients who were treated over an eight-year period between 2009 and 2017 and uploaded them into a computer model. They then “taught” the computer to make predictions about mesothelioma outcomes.
FDG-PET Scans Reveal Commonalities in Mesothelioma Tumors that Prove Reliable for Predictions
The use of computer modeling based on imaging scans is known as radiomics, and though it has proven useful in the past for other cancers, it has been less so for mesothelioma because the CT scans don’t reveal as much helpful information. The FDG-PET technology provided mesothelioma physicians the ability to more accurately predict the way that a given patient’s tumors were likely to respond to a variety of treatments.
Speaking of the improved capability, the researchers wrote, “We were able to build a successful FDG-PET radiomics model for the prediction of progression free survival in malignant pleural mesothelioma. Radiomics could serve as a tool to aid clinical decision support systems for treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma in future.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, having access to more information helps you make important decisions. For additional resources, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.