In order to explore a pre-clinical method to evaluate if [18F]FDG is valid for monitoring early response, we investigated the uptake of FDG in Multicellular tumour spheroids (MTS) without and with treatment with five routinely used chemotherapy agents in breast cancer.
The response to each anticancer treatment was evaluated by measurement of the [18F]FDG uptake and viable volume of the MTSs after 2 and 3 days of treatment.
The effect of Paclitaxel and Docetaxel on [18F]FDG uptake per viable volume was more evident in BT474 (up to 55% decrease) than in MCF-7 (up to 25% decrease).
Doxorubicin reduced the [18F]FDG uptake per viable volume more noticeable in MCF-7 (25%) than in BT474 MTSs.
Tamoxifen reduced the [18F]FDG uptake per viable volume only in MCF-7 at the highest dose of 1 μM.
No effect of Imatinib was observed.
MTS was shown to be appropriate to investigate the potential of FDG-PET for early breast cancer treatment monitoring; the treatment effect can be observed before any tumour size changes occur.
The combination of PET radiotracers and image analysis in MTS provides a good model to evaluate the relationship between tumour volume and the uptake of metabolic tracer before and after chemotherapy. This feature could be used for screening and selecting PET-tracers for early assessment of treatment response.
In addition, this new method gives a possibility to assess quickly, and in vitro, a good preclinical profile of existing and newly developed anti-cancer drugs.