Lung Cancer 2015 July 30 [Epub ahead of print] [Link]

Francis RJ, Segard T, Morandeau L, Lee YC, Millward MJ, Segal A, Nowak AK.



Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a chemotherapy resistant tumor with a poor prognosis. Hypoxia is increasingly recognized as an important factor in tumor aggressiveness and cellular resistance to chemotherapy and radiation treatment. This prospective pilot study was performed with [F-18] fluoromisonidazole (FMISO) PET-CT to characterize hypoxia in patients with MPM.

Materials and Methods

Twenty prospectively recruited patients with histologically or cytologically confirmed MPM not currently receiving systemic or local treatment underwent both FMISO and fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET-CT scans within 2 weeks. FMISO and FDG PET-CT scans were independently analyzed visually and semi-quantitatively using SUVmax and tumor to background ratio (TBR) in order to assess tumor hypoxia and metabolic activity. Lesion by lesion analysis was performed in sites of measurable pleural masses.


Visual analysis demonstrated tumor FMISO activity in 17 of 20 patients, and tumor FDG activity in 19 of 20 patients. Focal areas of bulky tumor were most likely to demonstrate hypoxia. In 19 patients suitable for semi-quantitative analysis the median FDG SUVmax was 6.4 (range 1.9-19.1), median FMISO SUVmax was 2.5 (range 1.4-3.7) and median FMISO TBR was 1.8 (1.1-2.5). There was a positive correlation between intensity of metabolic activity and hypoxia (r=0.72, p=0.001). Lesion by lesion analysis demonstrated a positive correlation between tumor thickness and FMISO activity (r=0.77, p<0.001).


This pilot study confirms that MPM is a tumor with significant areas of hypoxia, particularly in dominant tumor masses. The relationship of tumor hypoxia to effectiveness of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy warrants prospective assessment.