New imaging system helps predict chemotherapy responses in breast cancer
A new optical imaging system which utilizes red and near-infrared light could identify breast cancer patients who might respond to chemotherapy, according to a study carried out by researchers at the Columbia University Irving Medical Centre.
he new imaging system, which is a noninvasive method of measuring blood flow dynamics in response to a single breath hold, might enable doctors to predict responses to chemotherapy as early as two weeks post the initiation of the treatment, according to a new study recently published in the journal Radiology.
“There is currently no method that can predict treatment outcome of chemotherapy early on in treatment, so this is a major advance,” said Dr. Andreas Hielscher, co-author of the study and professor of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering at Columbia Engineering.
The new dynamic optical tomographic breast imaging system generates 3-D images of both breasts simultaneously, which enables the researchers to observe the blood flow in the breasts, the vasculature alterations, and the blood–tumor interaction.
The system also distinguishes healthy tissues from malignant ones and shows how the tumor responds to chemotherapy earlier than other imaging techniques.
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is the standard treatment administered in women who have been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Treatment is typically administered up to 5 to 6 months before surgery.
The aim of the therapy is to eradicate the active cancer cells, yielding a complete response before surgery. Patients who attain a complete response have a reduced risk of cancer recurrence; however, fewer than half of women treated achieve a complete response.