Del Vecchio S, Zannetti A, Aloj L, Salvatore M
Evaluation of treatment response is of primary importance in the management of patients with cancer. Both positron- and g-emitting compounds have been used to monitor changes in tumor metabolism or viability after therapy. The use of (99m)Tc-labeled lipophilic cations raised the possibility to predict the tumor response to treatment and to identify patients who will become refractory to subsequent therapy. In particular, many studies have shown the prognostic value of (99m)Tc-MIBI scan in different types of malignancy including breast and lung cancer, lymphoma and sarcoma. The ability of (99m)Tc-MIBI to interact with P-glycoprotein, allowing the functional assessment of the multidrug resistant phenotype, is one of the mechanisms underlying its prognostic value. Additional mechanisms of cell resistance, mainly involving alterations of apoptosis, may affect (99m)Tc-MIBI uptake in tumors. Therefore, either an enhanced tracer clearance or a reduced early uptake of (99m)Tc-MIBI indicate a poor response to therapy. In both cases, (99m)Tc-MIBI scan may ensure that the further management strategy will be effective in individual cancer patients.