When chemotherapy is recommended as a cancer treatment, no one knows how
effective it may be. One simply hopes. But in this month's journal of Radiology,
researchers from Georgia Tech and Emory University describe a method of
assessing whether a tumor is a good candidate for chemotherapy or not.
The relative effectiveness of chemotherapy depends on how easily cancer
drugs can access the target tumors. If the tumor has "leaky" blood
vessels, chemotherapy drugs have the best chance of getting inside the tumor
where they can be effective. The team of researchers developed a digital
mammography based test to check the level of "leakiness" of the blood
The subjects in this study were six laboratory rats with tumors. They
were injected first with a contrast agent, a dye that shows up under x-ray, and
the researchers quantified the level of dye that permeated the tumors in each
rat. Then, the rats were injected with a clinically approved chemotherapy
drug, liposomal doxorubicin.
After a three-day test, the tumors that revealed the leakiest blood vessels in
response to the dye also showed the most beneficial response to the cancer drug
Though the researchers in this Georgia Tech/Emory University study want to
study the molecular basis for leakiness in tumor blood vessels, the current study
does show that prior knowledge of how a particular treatment will affect each
tumor will help doctors and patients to consider alternatives before committing
to one therapy. It may even be that another chemotherapy drug would
be better received by the blood vessels.
Keeping you posted...