Impact of PET/CT for Assessing Response to Immunotherapy - A Clinical Perspective
Sprache des Titels:
Cancer immunotherapy using immune-checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) has revolutionized the therapeutic landscape of various malignancies like non-small-cell lung cancer or melanoma. Pre-therapy response prediction and assessment during ICI treatment is challenging due to the lack of reliable biomarkers and the possibility of atypical radiological response patterns. Positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) enables the visualization and quantification of metabolic lesion activity additional to conventional CT imaging. Various biomarkers derived from PET/CT have been reported as predictors for response to ICI and may aid to overcome the challenges clinicians currently face in the management of ICI-treated patients. In this narrative review, experts in nuclear medicine, thoracic oncology, dermatooncology, hemato- and internal oncology, urological and head/neck tumors performed literature reviews in their respective field and a joint discussion on the use of PET/CT in the context of ICI treatment. The aims were to give a clinical overview on present standards and evidence, to identify current challenges and fields of research and to enable an outlook to future developments and their possible implications. Multiple promising studies concerning ICI response assessment or prediction using biomarkers derived from PET/CT alone or as composite biomarkers have been identified for various malignancies and disease stages. Of interest, additional major incentives in the field may evolve from novel tracers specifically targeting immune-checkpoint molecules which could allow not only response assessment and prognosis, but also visualization of histological tumor cell properties like programmed death-ligand (PD-L1) expression in vivo. Despite the broad range of existing literature on PET/CT-derived biomarkers in ICI therapy, implications for daily clinical practice remain elusive. High-quality prospective data are urgently warranted to determine whether patients benefit from the application of PET/CT in terms of prognosis. At the moment, the lack of such evidence as well as the absence of standardized imaging methods and biomarkers still precludes PET/CT imaging to be included in the relevant clinical practice guidelines.