Spatiotemporal stability of Cu-ATSM and FLT positron emission tomography distributions during radiation therapy

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Bradshaw TJ, Yip S, Jallow N, et al.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2014;89:399-405.

PURPOSE: In dose painting, in which functional imaging is used to define biological targets for radiation therapy dose escalation, changes in spatial distributions of biological properties during treatment can compromise the quality of therapy. The goal of this study was to assess the spatiotemporal stability of 2 potential dose painting targets–hypoxia and proliferation–in canine tumors during radiation therapy. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Twenty-two canine patients with sinonasal tumors (14 carcinoma and 8 sarcoma) were imaged before hypofractionated radiation therapy with copper(II)-diacetyl-bis(N4-methylthiosemicarbazone) (Cu-ATSM) positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) for hypoxia and 3′-deoxy-3′-(18)F-fluorothymidine (FLT) PET/CT for proliferation. The FLT scans were repeated after 2 fractions and the Cu-ATSM scans after 3 fractions. Midtreatment PET/CT images were deformably registered to pretreatment PET/CT images. Voxel-based Spearman correlation coefficients quantified the spatial stability of Cu-ATSM and FLT uptake distributions between pretreatment and midtreatment scans. Paired t tests determined significant differences between the patients’ respective Cu-ATSM and FLT correlations coefficients. Standardized uptake value measures were also compared between pretreatment and midtreatment scans by use of paired t tests. RESULTS: Spatial distributions of Cu-ATSM and FLT uptake were stable through midtreatment for both sarcomas and carcinomas: the population mean +/- standard deviation in Spearman correlation coefficient was 0.88 +/- 0.07 for Cu-ATSM and 0.79 +/- 0.13 for FLT. The patients’ Cu-ATSM correlation coefficients were significantly higher than their respective FLT correlation coefficients (P=.001). Changes in Cu-ATSM SUV measures from pretreatment to midtreatment were histology dependent: carcinomas experienced significant decreases in Cu-ATSM uptake (P<.05), whereas sarcomas did not (P>.20). Both histologies experienced significant decreases in FLT uptake (P<.05). CONCLUSIONS: Spatial distributions of Cu-ATSM were very stable after a few fractions of radiation therapy. FLT spatial distributions were generally stable early in therapy, although they were significantly less stable than Cu-ATSM distributions. Canine tumors had significantly lower proliferative activity at midtreatment than at pretreatment, and they experienced histology-dependent changes in Cu-ATSM uptake.