Publications

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    ABSTRACT: Purpose:MET amplification is one of the mechanisms underlying acquired resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Here we tested whether 3'-deoxy-3'-[18F]-fluorothymidine ([18F]FLT) positron emission tomography/computerized tomography (PET/CT) can detect MET-mediated resistance to EGFR TKIs and monitor the effects of MET inhibitors in NSCLC. Experimental Design:H1993 and H820 NSCLC cells with high and low level of MET amplification, respectively, and HCC827 expressing MET but without gene amplification were tested for the effects of MET inhibitors on EGFR pathway and proliferation both in vitro and in vivo. Nude mice bearing NSCLCs with and without MET amplification were subjected to [18F]FLT PET/CT before and after treatment with crizotinib or erlotinib (50mg/Kg and 100mg/Kg p.o. for 3 days). Results:H1993 cells showed high responsiveness to MET inhibitors and were resistant to erlotinib. Conversely, HCC827 cells showed high sensitivity to erlotinib and were resistant to MET inhibitors. Accordingly, H1993 tumors bearing MET amplification showed a mean reduction in [18F]FLT uptake of 28% and 41% after low and high dose treatment with crizotinib for 3 days whereas no post-therapy changes of [18F]FLT uptake were observed in HCC827 tumors lacking MET amplification. Furthermore a persistently high [18F]FLT uptake was observed in H1993 tumors after treatment with erlotinib whereas HCC827 tumors showed up to 39% reduction of [18F]FLT uptake following erlotinib treatment. Imaging findings were confirmed by Ki67 immunostaining of tumor sections. Conclusions:[18F]FLT PET/CT can detect MET-mediated resistance to EGFR TKIs and its reversal by MET inhibitors in NSCLC.
    Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: This study aimed to test the role of combined imaging with F-FDG-PET/CT and In-octreotide SPECT in characterizing thymic epithelial tumors (TETs). METHODS: We evaluated 20 patients with newly diagnosed TETs who had undergone concomitant F-FDG-PET/CT and In-octreotide SPECT. Thymic epithelial tumors were classified by World Health Organization (WHO) as low-risk thymomas (5), high-risk thymomas (4), and thymic carcinomas (11, among which 6 neuroendocrine tumors). Patients were staged according to Masaoka system. F-FDG-PET/CT was performed and SUVmax of primary tumors was recorded. In-octreotide SPECT of the thorax was performed, and tumor-to-background ratio was determined on the 24-hour coronal sections. RESULTS: All patients showed increased F-FDG uptake in mediastinal lesions. SUVmax were significantly correlated with WHO classification (r = 0.66, P < 0.01) and with Masaoka stage (r = 0.60, P < 0.01). SUVmax of low-risk thymomas (mean [SD], 2.87 [0.83]) were significantly lower than those of high-risk thymomas (mean [SD], 7.21 [1.73], P < 0.01) and of thymic carcinomas (mean [SD], 9.39 [5.80], P < 0.05), whereas no significant difference was found between high-risk thymomas and thymic carcinomas. SUVmax of all high-risk thymomas and thymic carcinomas was 4.5 or greater. All primary tumors were detected by In-octreotide SPECT, and tumor-to-background ratios ranged between 1.67 and 10.10. No statistically significant correlation was found between tumor-to-background ratios and WHO classification (r = 0.24, P = 0.36) and Masaoka stages (r = 0.31, P = 0.23). However tumor-to-background ratios of thymic neuroendocrine tumors (mean [SD], 5.71 [3.09]) were significantly higher than those of all other TETs with SUVmax of 4.5 or greater (mean [SD], 2.41 [0.56]; P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: F-FDG-PET/CT scan allows to differentiate high-risk epithelial tumors and thymic carcinomas from low-risk thymomas, whereas In-octreotide SPECT may identify neuroendocrine tumors among those showing high F-FDG uptake.
    Clinical nuclear medicine 03/2013; · 3.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background:Brown adipose tissue (BAT) was considered essentially nonexistent in adults until recent evidence obtained using 18-fluorodeoxyglucose (18-FDG) positron emission tomography/computed tomography. It seems to play a role in whole body metabolism, but it has not been evaluated in underweight conditions, such as in young females with constitutional leanness (CL) or anorexia nervosa (AN).Subjects and Methods:Thirty-eight subjects were evaluated from October 2011 to March 2012 : 7 CL (21.7 ± 3.6 y, body mass index [BMI] 16.2 ± 1.0 kg/m(2)), 7 AN (23.4 ± 4.5 y, BMI 15.5 ± 0.8), 3 of the 7 AN after stable refeeding (R-AN, 21.3 ± 1.5 y, BMI 18.8 ± 1.1), and 24 normal weight (NW) women (25.6 ± 3.9 y, BMI 22.2 ± 1.5). Fasting resting metabolic rate and respiratory quotient were measured by indirect calorimetry, body composition by bioimpedentiometry (only in CL, AN, and refed AN), and BAT activity by 18-FDG positron emission tomography/computed tomography scan, all in standardized conditions.Results:All CL (100%), none of the AN and refed AN (0%), and 3 of the 24 NW (12%) subjects showed FDG uptake. Average FDG maximum standardized uptake value was 11.4 + 6.7 g/mL in CL and 5.5 ± 1.2 g/mL (min 3.7, max 8.3) in the 3 NW subjects. In CL, the maximum standardized uptake value was directly correlated to resting metabolic rate, corrected for fat-free mass, and inversely correlated with respiratory quotient.Conclusion:BAT activity has been shown in CL in resting thermoneutral conditions and may exert a role against adipose tissue deposition.
    The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 02/2013; · 6.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: (18)F-FDG PET/CT allows the direct measurement of metabolic tumor burden in a variety of different malignancies. The aim of this study was to assess whether metabolic tumor volume (MTV) determined by (18)F-FDG PET/CT could be used in the prediction of progression-free and overall survival in multiple myeloma patients. METHODS: Forty-seven patients (18 women, 29 men; mean age ± SD, 63 ± 11 y) with stage IIIA disease who had undergone whole-body (18)F-FDG PET/CT were retrospectively evaluated. Images underwent a 3-dimensional region-of-interest analysis including all focal lesions with a maximum standardized uptake value > 2.5. The MTV of each lesion was calculated using an automated contouring program based on the standardized uptake value and developed with a threshold of 40% of the maximum standardized uptake value. The total MTV of each patient was defined as the sum of metabolic volume of all focal lesions. Patients were treated and then subjected to a mean follow-up period of 24 mo. RESULTS: In the 47 patients studied, MTV range was 1.3-316.3 mL, with a median of 23.7 mL. A direct, significant correlation was found between MTV and the percentage of diffuse infiltration of bone marrow by plasma cells (r = 0.46, P = 0.006), whereas hemoglobin levels were inversely correlated with MTV (r = -0.56, P = 0.0001). At follow-up, patients who developed progressive disease (n = 18) showed a significantly higher MTV (74.7 ± 19.3 vs. 29.8 ± 5.1 mL, P = 0.009) than patients without progressive disease (n = 29). Furthermore, patients who died of myeloma (n = 9) had a significantly higher MTV (123.2 ± 30.6 vs. 28.9 ± 4.2 mL, P = 0.0001) than survivors (n = 38). No differences in age, plasma cell infiltration, M protein, albumin, β2-microglobulin, performance status, International Staging System score, and presence or absence of a bone marrow transplant were found between groups. The MTV cutoff level was determined by receiver-operating-characteristic curve analysis, and the best discriminative value found for predicting progression-free and overall survival was 42.2 and 77.6 mL, respectively. By Kaplan-Meier analysis and log-rank testing, progression-free and overall survival at follow-up were significantly better in patients showing an MTV lower than the cutoff than in those having an MTV higher than the cutoff (χ(2) = 3.9, P = 0.04, and χ(2) = 56.3, P < 0.0001, respectively). CONCLUSION: The direct measurement of tumor burden obtained by calculating MTV on (18)F-FDG PET/CT images may be used in the prediction of progression-free and overall survival in myeloma patients.
    Journal of Nuclear Medicine 10/2012; · 5.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CONTEXT: Radioactive-iodine is a crucial tool for treatment of differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). In 5% of cases, DTCs lose I-131 avidity and assume an aggressive behaviour. Treatment options for iodine refractory DTC are limited. We report the experience of off-label use of the tyrosine-kinase inhibitor sorafenib for treatment of advanced iodine-refractory DTC. DESIGN: Patients with progressive DTC refractory to radioactive-iodine were treated with sorafenib used off-label independently from their performance status. Primary study endpoints were radiological response, progression free survival (PFS) and safety. Secondary endpoints were site-specific radiological response and overall survival (OS). An exploratory analysis of the role of serum thyroglobulin (Tg) and fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) was performed. RESULTS: Seventeen patients were included in the study. Median follow-up was 15.5 months. Clinical benefit was obtained in 71% of subjects (30% partial response and 41% stable disease). Sorafenib was mostly well tolerated but a high incidence of fatal events was reported (3 patients died from severe bleeding events and 2 from cardiac arrest). Median PFS was 9 months. Median OS was 10 months. The best responses were observed in lymph nodes and lung. Baseline Tg levels and the Tg response to treatment were correlated to both radiological response and PFS. Baseline FDG-PET assessment and early FDG-PET response were correlated to radiological response. CONCLUSIONS: Sorafenib allows morphological disease control in the majority of patients with iodine-refractory DTC. Progression-free survival and overall survival were lower than in previous studies as a consequence of the worse clinical condition of our patients. Sorafenib is mostly well tolerated but could have been responsible for the reported fatal events. Baseline Tg and the Tg response to treatment could be useful for predicting morphological response and clinical outcome. Early FDG-PET response could be helpful for the timely identification of non-responding patients. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
    Clinical Endocrinology 09/2012; · 3.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The identification of genetic and biochemical mechanisms underlying tumor growth and progression along with the unraveling of human genoma provided a plethora of new targets for cancer detection, treatment and monitoring. Simultaneously, the extraordinary development of a number of imaging technologies, including hybrid systems, allowed the visualization of biochemical, molecular and physiological aberrations linked to underlying mutations in a given tumor. In vivo evaluation of complex biological processes such as proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, metastasis, gene expression, receptor-ligand interactions, transport of substrates and metabolism of nutrients in human cancers is feasible using PET/CT and radiolabeled molecular probes. Some of these compounds are in preclinical phases of evaluation whereas others have been already applied in clinical settings. Here we provide prominent examples on how some biological processes and target expression can be visualized by PET/CT in animal tumor models and cancer patients for the noninvasive detection of well-known markers of tumor aggressiveness, invasiveness and resistance to treatment and for the evaluation of tumor response to therapy.
    Contrast Media & Molecular Imaging 01/2010; 5(4):190-200. · 2.87 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Nuclear Medicine 09/2009; 50(8):1385; author reply 1385. · 5.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To test whether epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) induce detectable signals in tumor cells and whether such signals may reveal alterations of the apoptotic program. Tumor cells were treated with gefitinib or erlotinib and tested for their ability to accumulate 99mTc-Sestamibi, a radiolabeled lipophilic cation that localizes in mitochondria. Then we tested whether Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL alter the pattern of drug-dependent tracer accumulation while reducing tumor cell sensitivity to EGFR TKIs. The mechanism underlying the pattern of tracer accumulation was elucidated. Finally, imaging studies were done in animal models and lung cancer patients before and after treatment with EGFR TKIs using single-photon emission computed tomography and 99mTc-Sestamibi. Gefitinib increases accumulation of 99mTc-Sestamibi in Bcl-2-overexpressing cells and enhances the physical interaction of phosphorylated Bcl-2 with inositol trisphosphate receptor type 3 (IP3R3). Consequently, a relative increase of cytosolic and mitochondrial calcium levels occurs. Similarly, lung cancer cells showed an increase of tracer uptake and an enhanced interaction of Bcl-xL with IP3R3 on exposure to erlotinib concentrations achievable in plasma. The occurrence of these interactions was associated with an enhanced EGFR TKI-induced apoptosis resistance. Posttreatment imaging studies in nude mice bearing control and Bcl-2-overexpressing breast carcinomas showed a high tumor uptake of the tracer whereas baseline studies failed to visualize tumors. Similarly, an enhancement of tracer uptake could be detected in patients with lung cancer treated with erlotinib. EGFR TKIs generate detectable signals by Bcl-2/Bcl-xL modulation of IP3R3 in tumor cells.
    Clinical Cancer Research 09/2008; 14(16):5209-19. · 7.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: New imaging techniques have been introduced to assess the extent and severity of disease in multiple myeloma (MM) patients. The aim of our study was to compare newer imaging modalities-such as (18)F-FDG PET/CT, (99m)Tc-methoxyisobutylisonitrile ((99m)Tc-MIBI) scintigraphy, and MRI-to assess their relative contribution in the evaluation of MM patients at diagnosis. Thirty-three newly diagnosed patients with MM were prospectively studied. Diagnosis and staging were made according to standard criteria. All patients underwent whole-body (18)F-FDG PET/CT, whole-body (99m)Tc-MIBI, and MRI of the spine and pelvis within 10 d, and imaging findings were compared. (18)F-FDG PET/CT was positive in 32 patients (16 focal uptake, 3 diffuse uptake, 13 focal and diffuse uptake), (99m)Tc-MIBI was positive in 30 patients (6 focal, 11 diffuse, 13 focal and diffuse uptake), and MRI of the spine and pelvis was positive in 27 patients (6 focal, 13 diffuse, 8 focal and diffuse uptake). (18)F-FDG PET/CT showed a total of 196 focal lesions (178 in bones and 18 in soft tissues), of which 121 were in districts other than the spine and pelvis, whereas (99m)Tc-MIBI visualized 63 focal lesions (60 in bones and 3 in soft tissues), of which 53 were in districts other than the spine and pelvis. In the spinal and pelvic regions, (18)F-FDG PET/CT detected 75 focal lesions (35 in spine and 40 in pelvis), (99m)Tc-MIBI visualized 10 focal lesions (1 in spine and 9 in pelvis), and MRI detected 51 focal lesions (40 in spine and 11 in pelvis). In whole-body analysis, (18)F-FDG PET/CT performed better than (99m)Tc-MIBI in the detection of focal lesions, whereas (99m)Tc-MIBI was superior in the visualization of diffuse disease. In the spine and pelvis, MRI was comparable to (18)F-FDG PET/CT and (99m)Tc-MIBI in the detection of focal and diffuse disease, respectively. Because myelomatous lesions may often occur out of spinal and pelvic regions, MRI should be reserved to the evaluation of bone marrow involvement of these districts, whereas (18)F-FDG PET/CT can significantly contribute to an accurate whole-body evaluation of MM patients. Finally, whole-body (99m)Tc-MIBI, despite its limited capacity in detecting focal lesions, may be an alternative option when a PET facility is not available.
    Journal of Nuclear Medicine 03/2008; 49(2):195-200. · 5.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Osteonecrosis of the maxillary or mandibular bone is an infrequent but often severe event occurring in patients who undergo prolonged treatment with bisphosphonates. Histology is in some cases mandatory to differentiate it from neoplastic osteolysis, but a biopsy can further contribute to bone damage. Functional imaging obtained by a tracer that shows oncotropic properties, such as Tc99m-sestamibi, in comparison to a non-tumor-specific substance such as FDG-PET, can support the differential diagnosis, thus avoiding invasive procedures. Four patients affected by multiple myeloma and jaw osteonecrosis were prospectively evaluated by sestamibi and FDG-PET scans. Local diagnosis was performed by clinical, radiological and, in some cases, histological evaluations. Each patient was studied by Tc99m-sestamibi, performed by planar anterior and posterior whole-body scans and SPECT of the head and neck, and by PET/CT. Two nuclear medicine physicians, unaware of the final diagnosis, reviewed the images. No sestamibi uptake was evident in the four patients with jaw osteonecrosis, while FDG-PET/CT showed focal uptake in all of them. Our study suggests that the combined use of sestamibi scintigraphy and FDG-PET/CT could support the clinical diagnosis of oral osteonecrosis avoiding the risks of a surgical biopsy. Studies on higher number of patients are necessary to validate these preliminary observations.
    Annals of Hematology 07/2007; 86(6):415-23. · 2.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The combination of a diagnostic test with a therapeutic entity is termed theranostics. The diagnostic test aims at identifying patients who will likely benefit from a specific therapeutic intervention, fail to respond or eventually manifest side effects to a given drug. The appropriate selection of patients for innovative therapies would promote an enrichment of patient population that can potentiate clinical trials and, eventually, accelerate the drug development process. For these reasons, many drug companies adopted a theranostic approach as a new and promising avenue for drug development. From an historical perspective, the concepts underlying the theranostic strategy are well known in nuclear medicine and constituted the basis of many nuclear imaging procedures currently used in clinical practice. Nevertheless the adoption of these concepts by regulatory authorities is a real progress and reflects the remarkable advances in the development of drugs against molecular targets. In this respect, the oncological field provides the strongest evidence of the clinical need to link diagnostics to therapeutics. Here, we review the contribution that non-invasive nuclear imaging may give to cancer theranostics and report prominent examples of nuclear imaging procedures that can be coupled to specific therapies. The main focus lies on imaging procedures that can identify patients who will benefit from molecularly targeted therapy or are going to fail to respond to standard treatment.
    The quarterly journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging: official publication of the Italian Association of Nuclear Medicine (AIMN) [and] the International Association of Radiopharmacology (IAR), [and] Section of the Society of... 07/2007; 51(2):152-63. · 1.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Intrinsic or acquired multidrug resistance is the major cause of treatment failure in many human cancers. Multiple cellular mechanisms may contribute to the development of multidrug resistance including overexpression of P-glycoprotein (Pgp). The use of 99mTc-labeled lipophilic cations, which are transport substrate of Pgp, raised the possibility to predict the tumor response to treatment and to identify patients who will become refractory to subsequent therapy. Among these agents, 99mTc-MIBI is the most widely evaluated tracer and may serve as a paradigm of this class of compounds. In particular, many studies have shown the prognostic value of 99mTc-MIBI scan in different types of malignancy including breast cancer and the correlation with the expression of Pgp. However, additional mechanisms of cell resistance, mainly involving alterations of apoptosis, may also affect 99mTc-MIBI uptake in tumors. In particular, overexpression of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 prevents tumor cells to enter apoptosis and inhibits tracer accumulation into mitochondria. Therefore, while an absent or reduced early tracer uptake in large breast carcinomas reflects the existence of a defective apoptotic program, an enhanced tracer clearance in 99mTc-MIBI positive lesions reflects the activity of drug transporters such as Pgp. The existence of two different mechanisms underlying the predictive role of 99mTc-MIBI scan may be important to establish whether individual patients may benefit from Pgp inhibitors or Bcl-2 antagonists.
    Physica Medica 02/2006; 21 Suppl 1:24-7. · 1.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Technetium-99m 2-methoxy-isobutyl-isonitrile ([99mTc] MIBI) has been successfully used to study patients with multiple myeloma (MM). This tracer is also a substrate for P-glycoprotein (Pgp). Since Pgp overexpression is one of the primary mechanisms of multidrug resistance in MM, the aim of this study was to test whether [99mTc] MIBI could be an index of Pgp overexpression and function in MM and therefore predicts response to chemotherapy. Forty patients with MM (12 in stage I, 15 in stage II, and 13 in stage III) showing diffuse bone marrow [99mTc] MIBI uptake were included in the study. All patients underwent whole body scintigraphy at 10 and 60 minutes after i.v. injection of 555 MBq of [99mTc] MIBI. [99mTc] MIBI washout was measured, after decay correction, as: (10 minute counts/pixel minus 60 minute counts/pixel) divided by 10 minute counts/pixel, computed on a region of interest drawn on the thoracic spine (posterior projection), taking care of avoiding heart and splanchnic organs. Disease restaging was performed at a mean time of 32+/-20 months, and patients were considered to be in remission (complete or partial) or to show disease progression on the basis of a complete clinical and hematological evaluation. Patients showing disease progression at restaging (n=26) had higher washout (19.3+/-9.8% vs 12.8+/-6.9%, p<0.05) than patients in remission (n=14). Disease free survival was significantly better in patients with lower washout of [99mTc] MIBI. No differences in therapeutic regimen and stage of disease at admission were found between the 2 groups. When patients treated with melphalan were excluded from the analysis, 87.5% of patients in remission had low washout. The present study suggests a potential role of [99mTc] MIBI washout in predicting response to chemotherapy in patients with MM.
    The quarterly journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging: official publication of the Italian Association of Nuclear Medicine (AIMN) [and] the International Association of Radiopharmacology (IAR), [and] Section of the Society of... 09/2005; 49(3):281-5. · 1.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Overexpression of P-glycoprotein (Pgp) is one of the primary mechanisms of multidrug resistance (MDR) in several diseases, including multiple myeloma. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the washout of 99mTc-MIBI, a transport substrate of Pgp, is enhanced in the bone marrow of patients with multiple myeloma overexpressing Pgp. Seventeen (17) patients were i.v. injected with 555 MBq of 99mTc-MIBI, and whole-body scans were performed at 10 and 60 minutes. A region of interest (ROI) was drawn over the thoracic spine of each scan, and the washout of 99mTc-MIBI was calculated, after decay correction, as: (10-minute counts/pixel minus 60-minute counts/pixel) divided by 10-minute counts/pixel. Pgp expression was determined in 17 bone marrow samples obtained from the same patients immediately before the 99mTc-MIBI scan. Following centrifugation over the Ficoll-Hypaque gradient, cytospins were obtained and immunostained with C219 monoclonal antibody. The immunostaining of Pgp was graded as 1, 2, or 3 when a faint, moderate, or intense reaction, respectively, was observed in infiltrating plasma cells. Washout of 99mTc-MIBI ranged between 5% and 26%. A statistically significant direct correlation was found between the washout of the tracer and Pgp expression (Spearman rank correlation coefficient r = 0.74, p < 0.001). A partial overlap of washout values was observed in different classes of Pgp expression, thus preventing the discrimination of individual patients. Washout of 99mTc-MIBI, expressed as the percentage of radioactivity cleared from the bone marrow over a 1-hour period, may be used as a noninvasive tool for in vivo whole-body imaging of Pgp expression and function in multiple myeloma patients.
    Cancer Biotherapy and Radiopharmaceuticals 04/2004; 19(2):165-70. · 1.74 Impact Factor
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    Leukemia and Lymphoma 07/2003; 44(6):1081-2. · 2.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Our previous studies showed that the efflux rate of technetium-99m methoxyisobutylisonitrile (MIBI) is directly correlated to P-glycoprotein (Pgp) levels in breast carcinoma. The aim of this study was to test whether the Pgp-dependent efflux of 99mTc-MIBI is related to the apoptotic pathway activation in breast carcinoma. Thirty-three untreated non-consecutive patients were intravenously injected with 740 MBq 99mTc-MIBI and serial images were obtained up to 4 h. The rate of efflux was determined by mono-exponential fitting of decay-corrected time-activity curves. Tumour specimens were then obtained at surgery and processed for the determination of the apoptotic index by in situ end-labelling of DNA fragments (Tunel). The rate of tumour cell proliferation was also determined using Ki67 monoclonal antibody. All breast carcinomas showed focal uptake of 99mTc-MIBI and the time to half clearance varied between 85 and 574 min. The apoptotic index ranged between 0.3% and 4.2%, whereas the rate of proliferation varied between 13% and 40%. We found a positive and significant correlation between the apoptotic index and the rate of proliferation (r=0.79, P<0.0001). The efflux rate of 99mTc-MIBI was directly and significantly correlated with the apoptotic index (r=0.74, P<0.0001) and with the rate of proliferation (r=0.58, P<0.001). After partial correlation analysis, only the apoptotic index showed a significant correlation with the efflux rate of 99mTc-MIBI (r=0.57, P<0.001). Our findings indicate that enhanced transport activity of Pgp is associated with increased activation of the apoptotic pathway, suggesting that inhibition of Pgp function with specific modulators may be effective in these patients. Furthermore, since mitochondria are central executioners of apoptosis and intracellular sites of 99mTc-MIBI sequestration, a model for the dynamic coupling of Pgp-dependent 99mTc-MIBI efflux and apoptotic pathway activation may be derived.
    European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging 07/2002; 29(6):809-14. · 5.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the predictive value of sentinel lymph node biopsy versus axillary node dissection on lymph node status in patients with T1-T2 breast cancer. Twenty-nine patients with T1 and 12 with T2 breast carcinoma and clinically N0 axillary lymph nodes, underwent lymphoscintigraphy following the administration of 99mTc-human albumin nanocolloids. The tracer was injected subdermally, over the tumor mass, in the 34 patients with palpable lesions and peritumorally (n=3) or intratumorally (n=4), under stereotactic or ultrasound guidance, in the 7 patients with non-palpable lesions. Anterior and lateral planar images were acquired 15 min after the injection of the tracer and repeated every 30 min up to 3 hr until identification of sentinel lymph node. At the end of the scintigraphic study, sentinel node skin projection was marked using a dermographic pen. Eighteen hours after lymphoscintigraphy, sentinel lymph node was identified and removed during surgery by hand-held gamma probe, then, the remaining axillary lymph nodes were dissected. All surgical specimens underwent histologic examination. Sentinel lymph nodes free of metastasis at histology, underwent additional examination with immunohistochemistry using monoclonal antibodies against cytokeratin and EMA to search for micrometastases. Sentinel lymph node was identified in the 34 patients injected subdermally and in the 3 patients injected peritumorally, while it remained undetected in the 4 patients injected intratumorally except for one case in which it was isolated by radioguided surgery but not scintigraphically. Sentinel nodes resulted free of metastases both at histology and immunohistochemistry in 32 cases and metastatic in 6. In the 32 patients with non-metastatic sentinel lymph nodes the other axillary nodes were also free of metastases. Among the 6 metastatic sentinel lymph nodes, in 3 cases they were the only metastatic nodes of the axilla while in the other 3 cases metastases were spread to other axillary nodes. In agreement with previous studies, our results showed that sentinel lymph node radioguided biopsy is a simple and reliable method for predicting axillary lymph nodes status and for avoiding axillary dissection in early breast cancer patients with sentinel node free of metastases.
    La radiologia medica 05/2002; 103(4):370-7. · 1.46 Impact Factor
  • Article: Reply.
    R Fonti, S Del Vecchio, L Pace
    European Journal of Nuclear Medicine 09/2001; 28(9):1431-2.
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    ABSTRACT: In a previous study, we showed the ability of technetium-99m methoxyisobutylisonitrile (99mTc-MIBI) scan to identify active disease in patients with multiple myeloma (Eur J Nucl Med 1998; 25: 714-720). In particular, a semiquantitative score of the extension and intensity of bone marrow uptake was derived and correlated with both the clinical status of the disease and plasma cell bone marrow infiltration. In order to estimate quantitatively 99mTc-MIBI bone marrow uptake and to verify the intracellular localization of the tracer, bone marrow samples obtained from 24 multiple myeloma patients, three patients with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and two healthy donors were studied for in vitro uptake. After centrifugation over Ficoll-Hypaque gradient, cell suspensions were incubated with 99mTc-MIBI and the uptake was expressed as the percentage of radioactivity specifically retained within the cells. The cellular localization of the tracer was assessed by micro-autoradiography. Twenty-two out of 27 patients underwent 99mTc-MIBI scan within a week of bone marrow sampling. Whole-body images were obtained 10 min after intravenous injection of 555 MBq of the tracer; the extension and intensity of 99mTc-MIBI uptake were graded using the semiquantitative score. A statistically significant correlation was found between in vitro uptake of 99mTc-MIBI and both plasma cell infiltration (Pearson's coefficient of correlation r=0.69, P<0.0001) and in vivo score (Spearman rank correlation coefficient r=0.60, P<0.01). No specific tracer uptake was found in bone marrow samples obtained from the two healthy donors. Micro-autoradiography showed localization of 99mTc-MIBI inside the plasma cells infiltrating the bone marrow. Therefore, our findings show that the degree of tracer uptake both in vitro and in vivo is related to the percentage of infiltrating plasma cells which accumulate the tracer in their inner compartments.
    European Journal of Nuclear Medicine 02/2001; 28(2):214-20.
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    ABSTRACT: The regulatory mechanisms underlying the overexpression of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and its receptor (uPAR) in highly invasive breast carcinomas remain poorly understood. In this study, we have simultaneously determined the level of uPAR and the activity of the transcription factor Sp1 in 14 breast carcinomas and 5 benign lesions. We found that uPAR levels and Sp1-binding activity are coordinately elevated in malignant tumors (r, 0.94; P < 0.001). On the contrary, undetectable or only barely detectable levels of uPAR and Sp1 activity were found in benign breast lesions. Finally, the engagement of uPAR by catalytically inactive uPA in the MDA-MB-231 breast carcinoma cell line results in a rapid up-regulation of Sp1-binding activity followed by an increase of uPAR protein. These results, taken together, suggest the existence of a uPA-dependent positive regulatory loop that may progressively enhance malignant breast cell invasiveness.
    Cancer Research 03/2000; 60(6):1546-51. · 8.65 Impact Factor

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