Immunotherapy targeting the Wilms tumor 1 (WT1) gene product is a promising treatment modality for patients with malignant gliomas, and there have been reports of encouraging results. It has become clear, however, that Gd-enhanced MR imaging does not reflect prognosis, thereby necessitating a more robust imaging evaluation system for monitoring response to WT1 immunotherapy. To meet this demand, the authors performed a voxel-wise parametric response map (PRM) analysis of 11C-methionine PET (MET-PET) in WT1 immunotherapy and compared the data with the overall survival after initiation of WT1 immunotherapy (OSWT1).
Fourteen patients with recurrent malignant glioma were included in the study, and OSWT1 was compared with: 1) volume and length change in the contrast area of the tumor on Gd-enhanced MR images; 2) change in maximum uptake of 11C-methionine; and 3) a more detailed voxel-wise PRM analysis of MET-PET pre- and post-WT1 immunotherapy.
The PRM analysis was able to identify the following 3 areas within the tumor core: 1) area with no change in 11C-methionine uptake pre- and posttreatment; 2) area with increased 11C-methionine uptake posttreatment (PRM+MET); and 3) area with decreased 11C-methionine uptake posttreatment. While the results of Gd-enhanced MR imaging volumetric and conventional MET-PET analysis did not correlate with OSWT1 (p = 0.270 for Gd-enhanced MR imaging length, p = 0.960 for Gd-enhanced MR imaging volume, and p = 0.110 for MET-PET), the percentage of PRM+MET area showed excellent correlation (p = 0.008) with OSWT1.
This study describes the limited value of Gd-enhanced MR imaging and highlights the potential of voxel-wise PRM analysis of MET-PET for monitoring treatment response in immunotherapy for malignant gliomas. Clinical trial registration no.: UMIN000002001.