Investigators have utilized fluorescence lifetime imaging to identify breast cancer patients who may benefit from certain therapies. The results were recently published in Oncotarget.
The team at Kings College (London, UK), in collaboration with Cancer Research UK and the MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology (UK), harnessed fluorescence lifetime imaging to measure the distance between HER2 and HER3 proteins in breast cancer cells from patients.
Using the results of fluorescence lifetime imaging, the team suggest that individuals who display proteins that have bonded together would benefit from HER2-targeted treatment, regardless of whether the tumor cells express high levels of HER2.
Currently, only patients who express high levels of HER2 can benefit from HER2-targeted treatment. This imaging technique, could have the added benefit of picking up additional patients who could respond well to HER2-targeting drugs, and also confirm those patients who are not suitable for HER2 treatment.
Leading the study, Professor Tony Ng (King’s College London) commented: “This imaging technique could help us pick up patients who might benefit from these drugs but have been previously overlooked. Using this test, we should be able to predict which drugs won’t work in patients and avoid prescribing unnecessary treatments – putting the drugs that we’ve got to better use. The next step is to run clinical trials to see if this test could help patients.
Nell Barrie of Cancer Research UK added: “This research could eventually give doctors another way to personalize treatment so that patients receive the drugs that are most likely to help them.”