A Dartmouth study suggests that it may be possible to use Diffuse Optical Spectroscopic Tomographic imaging (DOST) to predict which patients will best respond to chemotherapy used to shrink breast cancer tumors before surgery. These findings could eliminate delays in effective early treatment for tumors unlikely to respond to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC). The study, "Predicting breast tumor response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy with Diffuse Optical Spectroscopic Tomography prior to treatment," was published online in Clinical Cancer Research.
Breast cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in women worldwide, and the second leading cause of women's cancer mortality in the United States. A common treatment strategy after diagnosis is to shrink breast cancer tumors larger than 3 centimeters with a 6- to 8-month course of NAC prior to surgery. Clinical studies have shown that patients who respond to NAC have longer disease-free survival rates, but only 20 to 30 percent of patients who receive NAC fit this profile.
"Our work represents the first clinical evidence that tumor total hemoglobin (estimated from DOST images) is different in the women with locally advanced breast cancer who respond to neoadjuvant chemotherapy," said lead author Shudong Jiang, associate professor of Engineering at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth. "We were able to predict breast tumor response to NAC based on image data acquired before the initiation of therapy."