Noninvasive imaging biomarker IDs chronic liver disease

A noninvasive imaging biomarker known as 18F fluorocholine PET/CT has been proving its capability in detecting certain cancers for years, but fresh research out of Honolulu suggests it could be especially useful in identifying chronic liver disease.

Sandi Alexander Kwee, MD, PhD, an associate professor at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, led a study on the subject that was published in Radiology’s April issue. The research involved collecting liver tumor samples from patients post-surgery—a process that totaled five years.

“Chronic liver disease is a major cause of mortality worldwide, and over 90 percent of liver cancers are associated with it, so we felt it was worthwhile to pursue the topic of molecular imaging in the disease,” Kwee said in an article published by RSNA. “We collected tumor samples from patients after surgery, and these samples contained the liver tumor and adjacent liver tissues, giving us the opportunity for radiologic-pathologic correspondence to study chronic liver disease along with liver cancer.” 

After assessing liver choline metabolism, the researchers found the PET approach to be useful, but Kwee said cost-effectiveness will be an important factor in influencing its clinical viability.

“I hope to see novel scanner development being informed by the potential for broader clinical applications of PET,” Kwee said.