The imaging viewpoint: how imaging affects determination of progression-free survival.
Tumor measurements on computed tomgoraphic or MRI scans and/or the appearance of new lesions on any of a variety of imaging studies including positron emission tomographic scans are key determinants for assessing progression-free survival as an endpoint in many clinical trials of therapies for solid tumors. Test-retest tumor measurement reproducibility may vary considerably across serial scans on the same patient unless rigorous attention is paid to standardization of image acquisition parameters and unless measurements are made by trained, experienced observers using validated objective methods. Target lesion selection also must be done with care to choose lesions that are or will be reproducibly measurable. Likewise, new lesions will be missed or misinterpreted on follow-up imaging studies unless those imaging studies are obtained using techniques suitable for detecting early, small lesions. Reader variability is clearly a major component of the problem. The increasing availability of semiautomatic image processing algorithms will help ameliorate that issue. In addition, an array of internationally accepted guidelines, standards, and accreditation programs now exist to help address these problems.
Sullivan, DC; Schwartz, LH; Zhao, B
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