Our Most Important Lung Fibrosis Paper to Date

We are delighted to announce the publication of our collaboration with the Insititute of Nuclear Medicine and our most important lung fibrosis paper to date. This work investigates the use of molecular imaging to more accurately determine disease severity in patients with pulmonary fibrosis.

Win T, Screaton NJ, Porter JC, Ganeshan B, Maher TM, Fraioli F, Endozo R, Shortman RI, Hurrell L, Holman BF, Thielemans K, Rashidnasab A, Hutton BF, Lukey PT, Flynn A, Ell PJ, Groves AM. Pulmonary 18F-FDG uptake helps refine current risk stratification in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2018 Jan 16. [Epub ahead of print].

For the last 5 years, Breathing Matters has collaborated on a programme investigating the ability of PET scanning to more accurately predict prognosis in individual patients with IPF and other forms of lung fibrosis.

[Combined high resolution CT image (Left) and PET image (Right) in a patient with IPF. The CT images (A) show honey comb lung (arrow) and PET images show high signal in the honey comb area (black, at site of broken arrow). Groves et al J. Nucl Med. 2009;50:538-45.]

The newly published paper in the European Journal of Nuclear Medicine, consisted of a unique 10-year prospective study of 113 IPF patients (the largest PET study in IPF) and the first of its kind to evaluate the use of FDG (glucose metabolism) PET scanning to predict prognosis and disease progression against the current standard, Gender Age Physiology (GAP) scoring system.

The findings demonstrate that FDG (glucose metabolism) PET scanning can help identify patients with IPF who are at increased risk of death and might therefore benefit from early treatment.

The figure below shows, for the first time,  that patients with IPF who have a higher lung glucose metabolism are significantly ( p<0.003) more likely to deteriorate rapidly, despite having features that would conventionally place them in a good prognostic group. This data suggests that current treatment guidelines may need to be reviewed, as currently patients placed in a conventionally favourable group are not recommended for treatment.  This novel imaging biomarker may allow us to evaluate new treatments more quickly by looking for changes in PET signal in individual patients.  This will mean that smaller cohorts of patients will be needed for clinical efficacy trials, with a reduction in time to bring new medicines to patients.

Dr Porter reports, “This is a potential game changer in the stratification  of patients with pulmonary fibrosis, giving additional information that complements the current GAP score and allows us to more accurately predict outcomes for individual patients.  This means that we can reassure patients with a low glucose uptake on the scan; but intensify follow-up, treatment and early transplant referral in those patients with high glucose uptake. This is better for patients and allows us to provide a more effective and efficient ILD service”.