Objective assessment of tumour response to therapy based on tumour growth kinetics

Abstract

Background:Current standards for assessment of tumour response to therapy (a) categorise therapeutic efficacy values, inappropriate for patient-specific and deterministic studies, (b) neglect the natural growth characteristics of tumours, (c) are based on tumour shrinkage, inappropriate for cytostatic therapies, and (d) do not accommodate integration of functional/biological means of therapeutic efficacy assessed with, for example, positron emission tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, with data from anatomical changes in tumour.Methods:A quantity for tumour response was formulated assuming that an effective treatment may decrease the cell proliferation rate (cytostatic) and/or increase the cell loss rate (cytotoxic) of the tumour. Tumour response values were analysed for 11 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients treated with 131I-labelled anti-B1 antibody and 12 prostate cancer patients treated with a nutritional supplement.Results:Tumour response was found to be equal to the logarithm of the ratio of post-treatment tumour volume to the volume of corresponding untreated tumour. Neglecting the natural growth characteristics of tumours results in underestimation of treatment effectiveness based on currently used methods. The model also facilitates the integration of data from tumour volume changes, with data from functional imaging.Conclusion:Tumour response to therapy can be assessed with a continuous dimensionless quantity for both cytotoxic and cytostatic treatments.

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