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1.  Measuring total liver function on sulfur colloid SPECT/CT for improved risk stratification and outcome prediction of hepatocellular carcinoma patients 
EJNMMI Research  2016;6:57.
Assessment of liver function is critical in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patient management. We evaluated parameters of [99mTc] sulfur colloid (SC) SPECT/CT liver uptake for association with clinical measures of liver function and outcome in HCC patients.
Thirty patients with HCC and variable Child-Turcotte-Pugh scores (CTP A5-C10) underwent [99mTc]SC SPECT/CT scans for radiotherapy planning. Gross tumor volume (GTV), anatomic liver volume (ALV), and spleen were contoured on CT. SC SPECT image parameters include threshold-based functional liver volumes (FLV) relative to ALV, mean liver-to-spleen uptake ratio (L/Smean), and total liver function (TLF) ratio derived from the product of FLV and L/Smean. Optimal SC uptake thresholds were determined by ROC analysis for maximizing CTP classification accuracy. Image metrics were tested for rank correlation to composite scores and clinical liver function parameters. Image parameters of liver function were tested for association to overall survival with Cox proportional hazard regression.
Optimized thresholds on SC SPECT were 58 % of maximum uptake for FLV, 38 % for L/Smean, and 58 % for TLF. TLF produced the highest CTP classification accuracy (AUC = 0.93) at threshold of 0.35 (sensitivity = 0.88, specificity = 0.86). Higher TLF was associated with lower CTP score: TLFA = 0.6 (0.4–0.8) versus TLFB = 0.2 (0.1–0.3), p < 10−4. TLF was rank correlated to albumin and bilirubin (|R| > 0.63). Only TLF >0.30 was independently associated with overall survival when adjusting for CTP class (HR = 0.12, 95 % CI = 0.02–0.58, p = 0.008).
SC SPECT/CT liver uptake correlated with differential liver function. TLF was associated with improved overall survival and may aid in personalized oncologic management of HCC patients.
PMCID: PMC4923007  PMID: 27349530
SPECT/CT; Sulfur colloid; Child-Pugh; ROC; HCC; Liver function
2.  Differential hepatic avoidance radiation therapy: Proof of concept in hepatocellular carcinoma patients 
To evaluate the feasibility of a novel planning concept that differentially redistributes RT dose away from functional liver regions as defined by 99mTc-sulphur colloid (SC) uptake on patient SPECT/ CT images.
Materials and methods
Ten HCC patients with different Child–Turcotte–Pugh scores (A5-B9) underwent SC SPECT/CT scans in treatment position prior to RT that were registered to planning CT scans. Proton pencil beam scanning (PBS) therapy plans were optimized to deliver 37.5–60.0 Gy (RBE) over 5–15 fractions using single field uniform dose technique robust to range and setup uncertainty. Photon volumetrically modulated arc therapy (VMAT) plans were optimized to the same prescribed dose and minimum target coverage. For both treatment modalities, differential hepatic avoidance RT (DHART) plans were generated to decrease dose to functional liver volumes (FLV) defined by a range of thresholds relative to maximum SC uptake (43–90%) in the tumor-subtracted liver. Radiation dose was redistributed away from regions of increased SC uptake in each FLV by linearly scaling mean dose objectives during PBS or VMAT optimization. DHART planning feasibility was assessed by a significantly negative Spearman’s rank correlation (RS) between dose difference and SC uptake. Patient, tumor, and treatment planning characteristics were tested for association to DHART planning feasibility using non-parametric Kruskal–Wallis ANOVA.
Compared to conventional plans, DHART plans achieved a 3% FLV dose reduction for every 10% SC uptake increase. DHART planning was feasible in the majority of patients with 60% of patients having RS < −0.5 (p < 0.01, range −1.0 to 0.2) and was particularly effective in 30% of patients (RS < −0.9). Mean dose to FLV was reduced by up to 20% in these patients. Only fractionation regimen was associated with DHART planning feasibility: 15 fraction courses were more feasible than 5–6 fraction courses (RS < −0.93 vs. RS > −0.60, p < 0.02).
Differential avoidance of functional liver regions defined on sulphur colloid SPECT/CT is achievable with either photon VMAT or proton PBS therapy. Further investigation with phantom studies and in a larger cohort of patients may validate the utility of DHART planning for HCC radiotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4587568  PMID: 25934165
SPECT; Sulphur colloid; Functional avoidance; Dose painting; PBS; HCC
3.  Functional imaging of radiation liver injury in a liver metastasis patient: imaging and pathologic correlation 
Radiation therapy (RT) is increasingly being utilized as a treatment modality for the treatment of primary and metastatic liver malignancies. Accurate assessment of liver function and prediction of radiation induced liver disease (RILD) remains a challenge with conventional laboratory tests and imaging. Imaging-pathology correlation of hepatic injury after RT has been described with computer tomography (CT) imaging that depicts perfusion changes. However, these imaging changes may not directly characterize the functional capacity of the liver.
Case presentation
This case report describes a patient that received preoperative chemoradiation and surgical resection for a liver metastasis from endometrial cancer. Sulfur colloid (SC) single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT/CT) was obtained post-chemoradiation and prior to surgery. Imaging-pathology correlation between radiation changes depicted on functional imaging using SC SPECT/CT and corresponding histopathology is described.
Quantitative SC SPECT/CT may allow non-invasive assessment of global and spatial liver function before treatment and enable personalized treatment approaches for liver-directed therapies.
PMCID: PMC4397255  PMID: 26029465
Liver metastasis; radiation therapy (RT); radiation induced liver disease (RILD); functional imaging
4.  DNA hypermethylation of tumors from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients is associated with gender and histologic type 
We previously identified a number of genes which were methylated significantly more frequently in the tumor compared to the non-cancerous lung tissues from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Detection of methylation profiles of genes in NSCLC could provide insight into differential pathways to malignancy and lead to strategies for better treatment of individuals with NSCLC.
We determined the DNA methylation status of 27 genes using quantitative MethyLight assays in lung tumor samples from 117 clinically well-characterized NSCLC patients.
Hypermethylation was detected in one of more of the genes in 106 (91%) of 117 cases and was detected at high levels (Percentage of Methylation Reference (PMR)≥4%) in 79% of NSCLC cases. Methylation of APC, CCND2, KCNH5 and, RUNX was significantly more frequent in adenocarcinomas compared to squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), while methylation of CDKN2A was more common in SCC. Hypermethylation of KCNH5, KCNH8, and RARB was more frequent in females compared to males. Hypermethylation of APC and CCND2 was inversely associated with proliferation score assessed by Ki-67 level.
Our findings of differential gene hypermethylation frequencies in tumor tissues from patients with adenocarcinoma or squamous cell cancers and in females compared to males suggests that further investigation is warranted in order to more fully understand the potential disparate pathways and/or risk factors for NSCLC associated with histologic type and gender.
PMCID: PMC2888601  PMID: 19945765
hypermethylation; lung cancer; gender; histology
5.  Hypermethylation of CCND2 May Reflect a Smoking-Induced Precancerous Change in the Lung 
Journal of Oncology  2011;2011:950140.
It remains unknown whether tobacco smoke induces DNA hypermethylation as an early event in carcinogenesis or as a late event, specific to overt cancer tissue. Using MethyLight assays, we analyzed 316 lung tissue samples from 151 cancer-free subjects (121 ever-smokers and 30 never-smokers) for hypermethylation of 19 genes previously observed to be hypermethylated in nonsmall cell lung cancers. Only APC (39%), CCND2 (21%), CDH1 (7%), and RARB (4%) were hypermethylated in >2% of these cancer-free subjects. CCND2 was hypermethylated more frequently in ever-smokers (26%) than in never-smokers (3%). CCND2 hypermethylation was also associated with increased age and upper lobe sample location. APC was frequently hypermethylated in both ever-smokers (41%) and never-smokers (30%). BVES, CDH13, CDKN2A (p16), CDKN2B, DAPK1, IGFBP3, IGSF4, KCNH5, KCNH8, MGMT, OPCML, PCSK6, RASSF1, RUNX, and TMS1 were rarely hypermethylated (<2%) in all subjects. Hypermethylation of CCND2 may reflect a smoking-induced precancerous change in the lung.
PMCID: PMC3090638  PMID: 21577262
An investigation was conducted to determine if the 5-fluoro analog of TPI (5-chloro-6-[(2-iminopyrrolidin-1-yl)methyl]uracil), a potent inhibitor of human thymidine phosphorylase (TP), has an IC50 in a range that might allow to use it labeled for imaging of TP expression in vivo. The previously unreported fluoro analog, TPI(F), was prepared and tested against TPI and TPI(Br) using an inhibition assay of [H-3]thymidine cleavage. An assay, performed in the presence of 0.4 mg/ml of human TP, yielded IC50 values of 2.5 nM, 2.7 nM and 9.0 nM for TPI, TPI(Br) and TPI(F), respectively. The results indicate that further studies to develop 18F-labeled TPI(F) as a potential radiopharmaceutical for PET imaging of TP expression in vivo are warranted.
PMCID: PMC2856128  PMID: 20391192
human thymidine phosphorylase; TP; transition state inhibitor analog; TPI; TPI(F)
7.  DNA Methylation in Tumor and Matched Normal Tissues from Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients 
We used MethyLight assays to analyze DNA methylation status of 27 genes on 49 paired cancerous and noncancerous tissue samples from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients who underwent surgical resection. Seven genes (RARB, BVES, CDKN2A, KCNH5, RASSF1, CDH13, and RUNX) were found to be methylated significantly more frequently in tumor tissues than in noncancerous tissues. Only methylation of CCND2 and APC was frequently detected in both cancerous and noncancerous tissues, supporting the hypothesis that the methylation of these two genes is a preneoplastic change and may be associated with tobacco smoking exposure. Methylation of any one of eight genes (RASSF1, DAPK1, BVES, CDH13, MGMT, KCNH5, RARB, or CDH1) was present in 80% of NSCLC tissues but only in 14% of noncancerous tissues. Detection of methylation of these genes in blood might have utility in monitoring and detecting tumor recurrence in early-stage NSCLC after curative surgical resection.
PMCID: PMC2798850  PMID: 18349282
8.  Toxicology evaluation of radiotracer doses of 3'-deoxy-3'-[18F]fluorothymidine (18F-FLT) for human PET imaging: Laboratory analysis of serial blood samples and comparison to previously investigated therapeutic FLT doses 
18F-FLT is a novel PET radiotracer which has demonstrated a strong potential utility for imaging cellular proliferation in human tumors in vivo. To facilitate future regulatory approval of 18F-FLT for clinical use, we wished to demonstrate the safety of radiotracer doses of 18F-FLT administered to human subjects, by: 1) performing an evaluation of the toxicity of 18F-FLT administered in radiotracer amounts for PET imaging, 2) comparing a radiotracer dose of FLT to clinical trial doses of FLT.
Twenty patients gave consent to a 18F-FLT injection, subsequent PET imaging, and blood draws. For each patient, blood samples were collected at multiple times before and after 18F-FLT PET. These samples were assayed for a comprehensive metabolic panel, total bilirubin, complete blood and platelet counts. 18F-FLT doses of 2.59 MBq/Kg with a maximal dose of 185 MBq (5 mCi) were used. Blood time-activity curves were generated for each patient from dynamic PET data, providing a measure of the area under the FLT concentration curve for 12 hours (AUC12).
No side effects were reported. Only albumin, red blood cell count, hematocrit and hemoglobin showed a statistically significant decrease over time. These changes are attributed to IV hydration during PET imaging and to subsequent blood loss at surgery. The AUC12 values estimated from imaging data are not significantly different from those found from serial measures of FLT blood concentrations (p = 0.66). The blood samples-derived AUC12 values range from 0.232 ng*h/mL to 1.339 ng*h/mL with a mean of 0.802 ± 0.303 ng*h/mL. This corresponds to 0.46% to 2.68% of the lowest and least toxic clinical trial AUC12 of 50 ng*h/mL reported by Flexner et al (1994). This single injection also corresponds to a nearly 3,000-fold lower cumulative dose than in Flexner's twice daily trial.
This study shows no evidence of toxicity or complications attributable to 18F-FLT injected intravenously.
PMCID: PMC1931583  PMID: 17608943

Results 1-8 (8)