Paclitaxel is used as a chemotherapy drug for the treatment of various malignancies, including breast, ovarian, and lung cancers. To evaluate the potential of a noninvasive prognostic tool for specifically predicting the resistance of tumors to paclitaxel therapy, we examined the tumoral uptake of (18)F-fluoropaclitaxel ((18)F-FPAC) in mice bearing human breast cancer xenografts by using small-animal-dedicated PET and compared (18)F-FPAC uptake with the tumor response to paclitaxel treatment.
Methods: PET data were acquired after tail vein injection of approximately 9 MBq of (18)F-FPAC in anesthetized nude mice bearing breast cancer xenografts. Tracer uptake in reconstructed images was quantified by region-of-interest analyses and compared with the tumor response, as measured by changes in tumor volume, after treatment with paclitaxel.
Results: Mice with tumors that progressed demonstrated lower tumoral uptake of (18)F-FPAC than mice with tumors that did not progress or that regressed (r = 0.55, P < 0.02; n = 19), indicating that low (18)F-FPAC uptake was a significant predictor of chemoresistance. Conversely, high (18)F-FPAC uptake predicted tumor regression. This relationship was found for mice bearing xenografts from cell lines selected to be either sensitive or intrinsically resistant to paclitaxel in vitro.
Conclusion: PET data acquired with (18)F-FPAC suggest that this tracer holds promise for the noninvasive quantification of its distribution in vivo in a straightforward manner. In combination with approaches for examining other aspects of resistance, such quantification could prove useful in helping to predict subsequent resistance to paclitaxel chemotherapy of breast cancer.