- Category: Press Releases
- 04 October 2013
CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Physicians announced today the results of a study showing that a safe, radiation-free diagnostic scan can be used in children with cancer to assess tumor response to therapy.
Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) imaging "is emerging as a very good and safe mechanism for evaluating the effectiveness of cancer therapy in children without having to use CT, which exposes the child to ionizing radiation," Dr. Jamie Coleman told the International Contrast Ultrasound Society (ICUS) at their annual conference in Chicago. Dr. Coleman, a physician at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, collaborated on the study with Dr. Beth McCarville, the principal investigator.
The study used CEUS to evaluate blood flow to solid tumors, Coleman said. "Because the growth of solid tumors depends in part on the flow of blood to the tumors, monitoring flow may play a crucial role in evaluating the tumor and effectiveness of cancer treatment," she explained.
CEUS also is easy to use and inexpensive, Coleman added.
CEUS uses contrast agents to improve the clarity of ultrasound scans. Ultrasound contrast agents are liquid suspensions of gas-filled microbubbles that are injected into an arm vein during an ultrasound scan. The microbubbles do not contain dye and are expelled from the body within minutes.
The Food and Drug Administration, physician groups and providers are concerned about increasing use of diagnostic imaging tools that expose patients to ionizing radiation, especially when alternative, radiation-free imaging options are available. Radiation exposure may increase a patient's risk of cancer and the effects are cumulative over a patient's lifetime.
This is the first pediatric study of CEUS using a sizeable number of patients. Thirty-four pediatric cancer patients received a total of 134 ultrasound contrast agent injections without any serious adverse effects. The initial phase of the study is now complete and a new clinical trial will be starting shortly at St. Jude's.
"Children, with their smaller body parts, make ideal candidates for CEUS," according to Dr. Kassa Darge, Pediatric Director of ICUS and a professor of radiology at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "Moreover, the absence of radiation makes it particularly safe, no sedation is required, it is well tolerated and it has the potential for lots of applications in pediatric oncology in the diagnosis and follow-up of solid tumors."