Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology - Research Publications

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    High-Specific-Activity-I-131-MIBG versus Lu-177-DOTATATE Targeted Radionuclide Therapy for Metastatic Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma
    Jha, A ; Taieb, D ; Carrasquillo, JA ; Pryma, DA ; Patel, M ; Millo, C ; de Herder, WW ; Del Rivero, J ; Crona, J ; Shulkin, BL ; Virgolini, I ; Chen, AP ; Mittal, BR ; Basu, S ; Dillon, JS ; Hope, TA ; Aparici, CM ; Iagaru, AH ; Hicks, RJ ; Avram, AM ; Strosberg, JR ; Civelek, AC ; Lin, FI ; Pandit-Taskar, N ; Pacak, K (AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH, 2021-06-01)
    Targeted radionuclide therapies (TRT) using 131I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (131I-MIBG) and peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (177Lu or 90Y) represent several of the therapeutic options in the management of metastatic/inoperable pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma. Recently, high-specific-activity-131I-MIBG therapy was approved by the FDA and both 177Lu-DOTATATE and 131I-MIBG therapy were recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines for the treatment of metastatic pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma. However, a clinical dilemma often arises in the selection of TRT, especially when a patient can be treated with either type of therapy based on eligibility by MIBG and somatostatin receptor imaging. To address this problem, we assembled a group of international experts, including oncologists, endocrinologists, and nuclear medicine physicians, with substantial experience in treating neuroendocrine tumors with TRTs to develop consensus and provide expert recommendations and perspectives on how to select between these two therapeutic options for metastatic/inoperable pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma. This article aims to summarize the survival outcomes of the available TRTs; discuss personalized treatment strategies based on functional imaging scans; address practical issues, including regulatory approvals; and compare toxicities and risk factors across treatments. Furthermore, it discusses the emerging TRTs.
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    Consensus on molecular imaging and theranostics in neuroendocrine neoplasms
    Ambrosini, V ; Kunikowska, J ; Baudin, E ; Bodei, L ; Bouvier, C ; Capdevila, J ; Cremonesi, M ; de Herder, WW ; Dromain, C ; Falconi, M ; Fani, M ; Fanti, S ; Hicks, RJ ; Kabasakal, L ; Kaltsas, G ; Lewington, V ; Minozzi, S ; Cinquini, M ; Oberg, K ; Oyen, WJG ; O'Toole, D ; Pavel, M ; Ruszniewski, P ; Scarpa, A ; Strosberg, J ; Sundin, A ; Taieb, D ; Virgolini, I ; Wild, D ; Herrmann, K ; Yao, J (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2021-02-12)
    Nuclear medicine plays an increasingly important role in the management neuroendocrine neoplasms (NEN). Somatostatin analogue (SSA)-based positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) and peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) have been used in clinical trials and approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM) Focus 3 performed a multidisciplinary Delphi process to deliver a balanced perspective on molecular imaging and radionuclide therapy in well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumours (NETs). NETs form in cells that interact with the nervous system or in glands that produce hormones. These cells, called neuroendocrine cells, can be found throughout the body, but NETs are most often found in the abdomen, especially in the gastrointestinal tract. These tumours may also be found in the lungs, pancreas and adrenal glands. In addition to being rare, NETs are also complex and may be difficult to diagnose. Most NETs are non-functioning; however, a minority present with symptoms related to hypersecretion of bioactive compounds. NETs often do not cause symptoms early in the disease process. When diagnosed, substantial number of patients are already found to have metastatic disease. Several societies' guidelines address Neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) management; however, many issues are still debated, due to both the difficulty in acquiring strong clinical evidence in a rare and heterogeneous disease and the different availability of diagnostic and therapeutic options across countries. EANM Focus 3 reached consensus on employing 68gallium-labelled somatostatin analogue ([68Ga]Ga-DOTA-SSA)-based PET/CT with diagnostic CT or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for unknown primary NET detection, metastatic NET, NET staging/restaging, suspected extra-adrenal pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma and suspected paraganglioma. Consensus was reached on employing 18fluorine-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose ([18F]FDG) PET/CT in neuroendocrine carcinoma, G3 NET and in G1-2 NET with mismatched lesions (CT-positive/[68Ga]Ga-DOTA-SSA-negative). Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) was recommended for second line treatment for gastrointestinal NET with [68Ga]Ga-DOTA-SSA uptake in all lesions, in G1/G2 NET at disease progression, and in a subset of G3 NET provided all lesions are positive at [18F]FDG and [68Ga]Ga-DOTA-SSA. PRRT rechallenge may be used for in patients with stable disease for at least 1 year after therapy completion. An international consensus is not only a prelude to a more standardised management across countries but also serves as a guide for the direction to follow when designing new research studies.
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    Perspective paper about the joint EANM/SNMMI/ESTRO practice recommendations for the use of 2-[18F]FDG-PET/CT external beam radiation treatment planning in lung cancer.
    Vaz, SC ; Adam, JA ; Delgado Bolton, RC ; Vera, P ; van Elmpt, W ; Herrmann, K ; Hicks, RJ ; Lievens, Y ; Santos, A ; Schöder, H ; Dubray, B ; Visvikis, D ; Troost, EGC ; de Geus-Oei, L-F (Elsevier BV, 2022-03)
    In "Joint EANM/SNMMI/ESTRO Practice Recommendations for the Use of 2-[18F]FDG-PET/CT External Beam Radiation Treatment Planning in Lung Cancer V1.0" clinical indications for PET-CT in (non-)small cell lung cancer are highlighted and selective nodal irradiation is discussed. Additionally, concepts about target definition, target delineation and treatment evaluation are reviewed.
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    Machine learning approaches for imaging-based prognostication of the outcome of surgery for mesial temporal lobe epilepsy
    Sinclair, B ; Cahill, V ; Seah, J ; Kitchen, A ; Vivash, LE ; Chen, Z ; Malpas, CB ; O'Shea, MF ; Desmond, PM ; Hicks, RJ ; Morokoff, AP ; King, JA ; Fabinyi, GC ; Kaye, AH ; Kwan, P ; Berkovic, SF ; Law, M ; O'Brien, TJ (WILEY, 2022-03-25)
    OBJECTIVES: Around 30% of patients undergoing surgical resection for drug-resistant mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) do not obtain seizure freedom. Success of anterior temporal lobe resection (ATLR) critically depends on the careful selection of surgical candidates, aiming at optimizing seizure freedom while minimizing postoperative morbidity. Structural MRI and FDG-PET neuroimaging are routinely used in presurgical assessment and guide the decision to proceed to surgery. In this study, we evaluate the potential of machine learning techniques applied to standard presurgical MRI and PET imaging features to provide enhanced prognostic value relative to current practice. METHODS: Eighty two patients with drug resistant MTLE were scanned with FDG-PET pre-surgery and T1-weighted MRI pre- and postsurgery. From these images the following features of interest were derived: volume of temporal lobe (TL) hypometabolism, % of extratemporal hypometabolism, presence of contralateral TL hypometabolism, presence of hippocampal sclerosis, laterality of seizure onset volume of tissue resected and % of temporal lobe hypometabolism resected. These measures were used as predictor variables in logistic regression, support vector machines, random forests and artificial neural networks. RESULTS: In the study cohort, 24 of 82 (28.3%) who underwent an ATLR for drug-resistant MTLE did not achieve Engel Class I (i.e., free of disabling seizures) outcome at a minimum of 2 years of postoperative follow-up. We found that machine learning approaches were able to predict up to 73% of the 24 ATLR surgical patients who did not achieve a Class I outcome, at the expense of incorrect prediction for up to 31% of patients who did achieve a Class I outcome. Overall accuracies ranged from 70% to 80%, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of .75-.81. We additionally found that information regarding overall extent of both total and significantly hypometabolic tissue resected was crucial to predictive performance, with AUC dropping to .59-.62 using presurgical information alone. Incorporating the laterality of seizure onset and the choice of machine learning algorithm did not significantly change predictive performance. SIGNIFICANCE: Collectively, these results indicate that "acceptable" to "good" patient-specific prognostication for drug-resistant MTLE surgery is feasible with machine learning approaches utilizing commonly collected imaging modalities, but that information on the surgical resection region is critical for optimal prognostication.
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    Joint EANM/SNMMI/ANZSNM practice guidelines/procedure standards on recommended use of [18F]FDG PET/CT imaging during immunomodulatory treatments in patients with solid tumors version 1.0.
    Lopci, E ; Hicks, RJ ; Dimitrakopoulou-Strauss, A ; Dercle, L ; Iravani, A ; Seban, RD ; Sachpekidis, C ; Humbert, O ; Gheysens, O ; Glaudemans, AWJM ; Weber, W ; Wahl, RL ; Scott, AM ; Pandit-Taskar, N ; Aide, N (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022-06)
    PURPOSE: The goal of this guideline/procedure standard is to assist nuclear medicine physicians, other nuclear medicine professionals, oncologists or other medical specialists for recommended use of [18F]FDG PET/CT in oncological patients undergoing immunotherapy, with special focus on response assessment in solid tumors. METHODS: In a cooperative effort between the EANM, the SNMMI and the ANZSNM, clinical indications, recommended imaging procedures and reporting standards have been agreed upon and summarized in this joint guideline/procedure standard. CONCLUSIONS: The field of immuno-oncology is rapidly evolving, and this guideline/procedure standard should not be seen as definitive, but rather as a guidance document standardizing the use and interpretation of [18F]FDG PET/CT during immunotherapy. Local variations to this guideline should be taken into consideration. PREAMBLE: The European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM) is a professional non-profit medical association founded in 1985 to facilitate worldwide communication among individuals pursuing clinical and academic excellence in nuclear medicine. The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) is an international scientific and professional organization founded in 1954 to promote science, technology and practical application of nuclear medicine. The Australian and New Zealand Society of Nuclear Medicine (ANZSNM), founded in 1969, represents the major professional society fostering the technical and professional development of nuclear medicine practice across Australia and New Zealand. It promotes excellence in the nuclear medicine profession through education, research and a commitment to the highest professional standards. EANM, SNMMI and ANZSNM members are physicians, technologists, physicists and scientists specialized in the research and clinical practice of nuclear medicine. All three societies will periodically put forth new standards/guidelines for nuclear medicine practice to help advance the science of nuclear medicine and improve service to patients. Existing standards/guidelines will be reviewed for revision or renewal, as appropriate, on their fifth anniversary or sooner, if indicated. Each standard/guideline, representing a policy statement by the EANM/SNMMI/ANZSNM, has undergone a thorough consensus process, entailing extensive review. These societies recognize that the safe and effective use of diagnostic nuclear medicine imaging requires particular training and skills, as described in each document. These standards/guidelines are educational tools designed to assist practitioners in providing appropriate and effective nuclear medicine care for patients. These guidelines are consensus documents based on current knowledge. They are not intended to be inflexible rules or requirements of practice, nor should they be used to establish a legal standard of care. For these reasons and those set forth below, the EANM, SNMMI and ANZSNM caution against the use of these standards/guidelines in litigation in which the clinical decisions of a practitioner are called into question. The ultimate judgment regarding the propriety of any specific procedure or course of action must be made by medical professionals considering the unique circumstances of each case. Thus, there is no implication that an action differing from what is laid out in the guidelines/procedure standards, standing alone, is below standard of care. To the contrary, a conscientious practitioner may responsibly adopt a course of action different from that set forth in the standards/guidelines when, in the reasonable judgment of the practitioner, such course of action is indicated by the condition of the patient, limitations of available resources or advances in knowledge or technology subsequent to publication of the guidelines/procedure standards. The practice of medicine involves not only the science, but also the art of dealing with the prevention, diagnosis, alleviation and treatment of disease. The variety and complexity of human conditions make it impossible for general guidelines to consistently allow for an accurate diagnosis to be reached or a particular treatment response to be predicted. Therefore, it should be recognized that adherence to these standards/ guidelines will not ensure a successful outcome. All that should be expected is that practitioners follow a reasonable course of action, based on their level of training, current knowledge, clinical practice guidelines, available resources and the needs/context of the patient being treated. The sole purpose of these guidelines is to assist practitioners in achieving this objective. The present guideline/procedure standard was developed collaboratively by the EANM, the SNMMI and the ANZSNM, with the support of international experts in the field. They summarize also the views of the Oncology and Theranostics and the Inflammation and Infection Committees of the EANM, as well as the procedure standards committee of the SNMMI, and reflect recommendations for which the EANM and SNMMI cannot be held responsible. The recommendations should be taken into the context of good practice of nuclear medicine and do not substitute for national and international legal or regulatory provisions.
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    Pheo-Type: A Diagnostic Gene-expression Assay for the Classification of Pheochromocytoma and Paraganglioma
    Flynn, A ; Dwight, T ; Harris, J ; Benn, D ; Zhou, L ; Hogg, A ; Catchpoole, D ; James, P ; Duncan, EL ; Trainer, A ; Gill, AJ ; Clifton-Bligh, R ; Hicks, RJ ; Tothill, RW (ENDOCRINE SOC, 2016-03-01)
    CONTEXT: Pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas (PPGLs) are heritable neoplasms that can be classified into gene-expression subtypes corresponding to their underlying specific genetic drivers. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to develop a diagnostic and research tool (Pheo-type) capable of classifying PPGL tumors into gene-expression subtypes that could be used to guide and interpret genetic testing, determine surveillance programs, and aid in elucidation of PPGL biology. DESIGN: A compendium of published microarray data representing 205 PPGL tumors was used for the selection of subtype-specific genes that were then translated to the Nanostring gene-expression platform. A support vector machine was trained on the microarray dataset and then tested on an independent Nanostring dataset representing 38 familial and sporadic cases of PPGL of known genotype (RET, NF1, TMEM127, MAX, HRAS, VHL, and SDHx). Different classifier models involving between three and six subtypes were compared for their discrimination potential. RESULTS: A gene set of 46 genes and six endogenous controls was selected representing six known PPGL subtypes; RTK1-3 (RET, NF1, TMEM127, and HRAS), MAX-like, VHL, and SDHx. Of 38 test cases, 34 (90%) were correctly predicted to six subtypes based on the known genotype to gene-expression subtype association. Removal of the RTK2 subtype from training, characterized by an admixture of tumor and normal adrenal cortex, improved the classification accuracy (35/38). Consolidation of RTK and pseudohypoxic PPGL subtypes to four- and then three-class architectures improved the classification accuracy for clinical application. CONCLUSIONS: The Pheo-type gene-expression assay is a reliable method for predicting PPGL genotype using routine diagnostic tumor samples.
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    TERT structural rearrangements in metastatic pheochromocytomas
    Dwight, T ; Flynn, A ; Amarasinghe, K ; Benn, DE ; Lupat, R ; Li, J ; Cameron, DL ; Hogg, A ; Balachander, S ; Candiloro, ILM ; Wong, SQ ; Robinson, BG ; Papenfuss, AT ; Gill, AJ ; Dobrovic, A ; Hicks, RJ ; Clifton-Bligh, RJ ; Tothill, RW (BIOSCIENTIFICA LTD, 2018-01-01)
    Pheochromocytomas (PC) and paragangliomas (PGL) are endocrine tumors for which the genetic and clinicopathological features of metastatic progression remain incompletely understood. As a result, the risk of metastasis from a primary tumor cannot be predicted. Early diagnosis of individuals at high risk of developing metastases is clinically important and the identification of new biomarkers that are predictive of metastatic potential is of high value. Activation of TERT has been associated with a number of malignant tumors, including PC/PGL. However, the mechanism of TERT activation in the majority of PC/PGL remains unclear. As TERT promoter mutations occur rarely in PC/PGL, we hypothesized that other mechanisms - such as structural variations - may underlie TERT activation in these tumors. From 35 PC and four PGL, we identified three primary PCs that developed metastases with elevated TERT expression, each of which lacked TERT promoter mutations and promoter DNA methylation. Using whole genome sequencing, we identified somatic structural alterations proximal to the TERT locus in two of these tumors. In both tumors, the genomic rearrangements led to the positioning of super-enhancers proximal to the TERT promoter, that are likely responsible for the activation of the normally tightly repressed TERT expression in chromaffin cells.
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    Imaging immunity in patients with cancer using positron emission tomography
    Hegi-Johnson, F ; Rudd, S ; Hicks, RJ ; De Ruysscher, D ; Trapani, JA ; John, T ; Donnelly, P ; Blyth, B ; Hanna, G ; Everitt, S ; Roselt, P ; MacManus, MP (NATURE PORTFOLIO, 2022-04-07)
    Immune checkpoint inhibitors and related molecules can achieve tumour regression, and even prolonged survival, for a subset of cancer patients with an otherwise dire prognosis. However, it remains unclear why some patients respond to immunotherapy and others do not. PET imaging has the potential to characterise the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of both immunotherapy target molecules and the tumor immune microenvironment, suggesting a tantalising vision of personally-adapted immunomodulatory treatment regimens. Personalised combinations of immunotherapy with local therapies and other systemic therapies, would be informed by immune imaging and subsequently modified in accordance with therapeutically induced immune environmental changes. An ideal PET imaging biomarker would facilitate the choice of initial therapy and would permit sequential imaging in time-frames that could provide actionable information to guide subsequent therapy. Such imaging should provide either prognostic or predictive measures of responsiveness relevant to key immunotherapy types but, most importantly, guide key decisions on initiation, continuation, change or cessation of treatment to reduce the cost and morbidity of treatment while enhancing survival outcomes. We survey the current literature, focusing on clinically relevant immune checkpoint immunotherapies, for which novel PET tracers are being developed, and discuss what steps are needed to make this vision a reality.
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    Joint EANM/SNMMI/ESTRO practice recommendations for the use of 2-[F-18]FDG PET/CT external beam radiation treatment planning in lung cancer V1.0
    Vaz, SC ; Adam, JA ; Bolton, RCD ; Vera, P ; van Elmpt, W ; Herrmann, K ; Hicks, RJ ; Lievens, Y ; Santos, A ; Schoder, H ; Dubray, B ; Visvikis, D ; Troost, EGC ; de Geus-Oei, L-F (SPRINGER, 2022-01-13)
    PURPOSE: 2-[18F]FDG PET/CT is of utmost importance for radiation treatment (RT) planning and response monitoring in lung cancer patients, in both non-small and small cell lung cancer (NSCLC and SCLC). This topic has been addressed in guidelines composed by experts within the field of radiation oncology. However, up to present, there is no procedural guideline on this subject, with involvement of the nuclear medicine societies. METHODS: A literature review was performed, followed by a discussion between a multidisciplinary team of experts in the different fields involved in the RT planning of lung cancer, in order to guide clinical management. The project was led by experts of the two nuclear medicine societies (EANM and SNMMI) and radiation oncology (ESTRO). RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: This guideline results from a joint and dynamic collaboration between the relevant disciplines for this topic. It provides a worldwide, state of the art, and multidisciplinary guide to 2-[18F]FDG PET/CT RT planning in NSCLC and SCLC. These practical recommendations describe applicable updates for existing clinical practices, highlight potential flaws, and provide solutions to overcome these as well. Finally, the recent developments considered for future application are also reviewed.
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    PET/CT variants and pitfalls in malignant melanoma
    Aide, N ; Iravani, A ; Prigent, K ; Kottler, D ; Alipour, R ; Hicks, RJ (BMC, 2022-01-04)
    18F-FDG PET/CT plays an increasingly pivotal role in the staging and post-treatment monitoring of high-risk melanoma patients, augmented by the introduction of therapies, including tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) and immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), that have novel modes of action that challenge conventional response assessment. Simultaneously, technological advances have been regularly released, including advanced reconstruction algorithms, digital PET and motion correction, which have allowed the PET community to detect ever-smaller cancer lesions, improving diagnostic performance in the context of indications previously viewed as limitations, such as detection of in-transit disease and confirmation of the nature of small pulmonary metastases apparent on CT.This review will provide advice regarding melanoma-related PET protocols and will focus on variants encountered during the imaging of melanoma patients. Emphasis will be made on pitfalls related to non-malignant diseases and treatment-related findings that may confound accurate interpretation unless recognized. The latter include signs of immune activation and immune-related adverse events (irAEs). Technology-related pitfalls are also discussed, since while new PET technologies improve detection of small lesions, these may also induce false-positive cases and require a learning curve to be observed. In these times of the COVID 19 pandemic, cases illustrating lessons learned from COVID 19 or vaccination-related pitfalls will also be described.