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An exploratory study of the ability of F-FDG PET to predict response to palliative chemotherapy in patients with poor-prognosis, recurrent/metastatic head and neck cancer

I Grants GraphicProfessor John Chester, Cardiff University
Start date: April 2015 (Extended to January 2020)
Funded amount: £29,870

Only a fraction of patients treated with chemotherapy will benefit. Being able to predict who will respond is a fundamental goal in cancer research and will enable treatments to be targeted to those most likely to benefit. Such predictive information would be useful to the clinician, the patient and their family ahead of decisions on treatment.

A type of scan called fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG ) positron emission tomography (PET) a potential way of predicting response. 18F-FDG PET exploits the fact that cancer cells uptake glucose more readily than normal cells. Patients are given a radioactive form of glucose and the18F-FDG PET scan identifies where in the body this accumulates. There is growing evidence that early loss of a tumour’s ability to accumulate glucose after chemotherapy predicts response.John Chester

We wish to investigate the ability of 18F-FDG PET to predict response to chemotherapy in patients with advanced, incurable head and neck cancer. To design a definitive study we need some initial data. We plan to undertake an exploratory study to obtain this data. We will perform 18F-FDG PET scans before and 10-14 days after chemotherapy in 15 patients with advanced head and neck cancer. Response will be assessed after 12 weeks by CT scan. This exploratory study will provide an initial assessment of the ability of 18F-FDG PET scan to predict response and will inform the design of the larger, definitive study

Lead Investigator

Professor John Chester, Cardiff University


Dr Mark Davies, Singleton Hospital
Dr Christopher Marshall, PETIC