Positron Emission Tomography Can Detect Metabolic Activities in Cancer Cells Post Vandetanib Treatment

Positron emission tomography

can prove handy in finding the effectiveness of the cancer treatment with protein kinase inhibitor, Vandetanib. It blocks the funtions of RET (rearranged-during-transfection protein) proto-oncogene and other dreadful proteins which play a vital role in the proliferation of cancer cells and in the progression of the cancer ailment.

The results of the study are published in the February 2011 issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

What is Positron Emission Tomography PET?

It is an imaging technique in the field of nuclear medicine. It produces three or four dimensional images of the functional processes in our body. The method involves injection of a tracer into the body with the help of a biologically active molecule. This tracer is an atom with unstable nucleus seeking stability by giving out its excess energy.

Generally, a form of sugar known as fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), is used as the biologically active molecule. It takes an hour for this molecule to get dissolved into the blood and transport the tracer (usually Flourine -18) into the tissue of interest.

Following this waiting period, the tracer releases a highly energetic positron (as a stability seeking measure) which travels inside the body up to certain distance until it loses all its energy.

By this stage, the positron meets its anti-particle, the electron, present already in the body and they undergo mutual annihilation. The process produces two oppositely directed gamma rays detectable by the scanners. Pictures of the locations in the body where the tracers accumulate and produce these rays are created by computer analysis.

PET is heavily used in diagnosis and clinical research studies of cancer. It is useful in taking images of the tumors and study their spreading to other fresh locations of the body.

Knowledge Gained from Research on PET:

  • The study wanted to know the usefulness of imaging the metabolic activities in cancer cells after they are treated with Vandetanib.
  • For this purpose, laboratory created thyroid cancer cells were applied this treatment and a profile of their activities after the treatment was made using PET.
  • Then, the cancer cells were injected into experimental mice, treated with vandetanib and the metabolic activities imagined there after were found to be the same as the prior laboratory study.
  • In the final stage of the study, a patient with diagnostically confirmed case of thyroid cancer and treated with vandetanib was scanned for the effectiveness of the treatment after 12th and 24th weeks.
  • The observations of the technique were consistent with the ones found in the laboratory cells and the experimental animals study.


Experts believe that the present developments in diagnostic imaging using

positron emission tomography

can prove handy in choosing right candidates for carrying out standard cancer treatments.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *