Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name



Cancer Biology

First Advisor

Anthony F. Shields


An important pillar of precision medicine for oncology is the ability to identify patients who respond to treatment early into their therapy. Positron emission tomography (PET) allows physicians and researchers to measure changes in tumor behavior prior to noticeable differences in morphology.

Objective: Determine the utility of multiple tracers for PET in assessing early changes in tumor activity that result from treatment.

Methods: Two tracers for PET were studied. 64Cu-labeled liposomes were used to assess changes in liposome delivery two solid colon tumors early into treatment with bevacizumab (Bev). 18F-FMAU thymidine analog (1-(2'-deoxy-2'-fluoro-beta-D-arabinofuranosyl)thymine), was utilized to detect early response to cisplatin treatment in non-small cell lung tumor models. Scans were analyzed before and after short-term therapy to determine changes in tracer retention which suggest therapeutic response.

Results: In each study PET was able to detect changes in tumor behavior which occurred early into treatment. After two injections of Bev over one week, liposome delivery was significantly reduced as measured by PET. In lung tumors, 24 hours of cisplatin treatment induced significant drops in 18F-FMAU retention in cisplatin sensitive tumors compared to resistant tumors.

Conclusion: PET imaging with a variety of tracers can provide information about tumor response to a broad spectrum of treatments. Thus, PET is a powerful tool for personalized therapy of cancer.