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Bone Scan Software Predicts Prostate Cancer Survival

By Medimaging International staff writers
Posted on 29 May 2018
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Image: A micrograph showing prostatic acinar adenocarcinoma – the most common form of prostate cancer (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia).
Image: A micrograph showing prostatic acinar adenocarcinoma – the most common form of prostate cancer (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia).
Researchers from the Duke Cancer Institute (Durham, NC, USA) have developed a software tool that automatically calculates the extent to which bones have been infiltrated by prostate cancer. The software, called the automated Bone Scan Index, or aBSI, also provides key prognostic information about the patient’s survival and development of symptoms over time. The researchers tested the software in a large, global multicenter study and have published their findings from the phase 3 study in JAMA Oncology.

Presently, bone metastases are measured by CT or MRI scans, accompanied by a nuclear medicine test involving manual assessment. Since the process of manual bone scan assessments, which is done using a formula based on bone mass and the number of cancer lesions, is subjective and time-consuming, it is not used in clinics on a regular basis. The aBSI software program can scan radiographic studies and quantify the degree of bone metastases within seconds.

Using the aBSI software, the Duke researchers evaluated 721 men with advanced, recurrent prostate cancer and followed them for the duration of their care. The researchers found the aBSI technology to be significantly better than the manual calculation method for predicting the survival time for the men, irrespective of how widespread their bone metastases was. Additionally, the technology also provided prognostic information about patient outcomes, and improved the ability to predict the time to symptom progression and onset of pain.

"This study describes major improvements over older techniques doctors used to measure bone metastases to predict survival and help guide treatments for patients with advanced prostate cancer," said lead author Andrew Armstrong, M.D, associate professor of medicine and surgery and associate director of the Duke Cancer Institute's Prostate and Urologic Cancer Center. "It's important to know how widespread metastatic disease is—both for patients to understand the likely course of their disease, and for doctors to determine the best potential treatments."

Related Links:
Duke Cancer Institute


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