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OBJECT - This pilot study evaluated the utility of 3'-deoxy-3'[18F]-fluorothymidine ([(18)F]-FLT) positron emission tomography (PET) to predict response to neoadjuvant therapy that included cetuximab in patients with wild-type KRAS rectal cancers.
METHODS - Baseline [(18)F]-FLT PET was collected prior to treatment initiation. Follow-up [(18)F]-FLT was collected after three weekly infusions of cetuximab, and following a combined regimen of cetuximab, 5-FU, and radiation. Imaging-matched biopsies were collected with each PET study.
RESULTS - Diminished [(18)F]-FLT PET was observed in 3/4 of patients following cetuximab treatment alone and in all patients following combination therapy. Reduced [(18)F]-FLT PET following combination therapy predicted disease-free status at surgery. Overall, [(18)F]-FLT PET agreed with Ki67 immunoreactivity from biopsy samples and surgically resected tissue, and was predictive of treatment-induced rise in p27 levels.
CONCLUSION - These results suggest that [(18)F]-FLT PET is a promising imaging biomarker to predict response to neoadjuvant therapy that included EGFR blockade with cetuximab in patients with rectal cancer.