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A Journal on Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Affiliated to the and to the International Research Group of Immunoscintigraphy
Indexed/Abstracted in: Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 2,413
Online ISSN 1827-1936
Del Vecchio S., Ciarmiello A.*, Salvatore M.
From the Nuclear Medicine, National Research Council CNR and Department of Biomorphological and Functional Sciences University “Federico II” *National Cancer Institute, Naples, Italy
The most well-characterized mechanism of multidrug resistance (MDR) involves P-glycoprotein (Pgp), a transmembrane protein acting as an ATP-dependent drug efflux pump. The recognition of 99mTc-Sestamibi and other lipophilic cations as transport substrates for Pgp provided the necessary tool for the clinical assessment of Pgp function in patients with cancer. Many clinical studies from different institutions and trials including a variety of malignancies indicate that both tumor uptake and clearance of 99mTc-Sestamibi are correlated with Pgp expression and may be used for the phenotypic assessment of multidrug resistance. Although both parameters may predict tumor response to chemotherapy, the extraction of efflux rate constants appeared to provide a more direct index of Pgp function as compared to tracer uptake ratio allowing to trace a continuous spectrum of drug transport activity. Preliminary studies reported the use of MDR imaging agents to monitor the modulating ability of revertant compounds. Although the results support the feasibility of this approach, the alteration of tracer pharmacokinetics induced by the modulators certainly constitutes a challenge in the development of a simple functional test suitable in clinical practice. The extension of the acquired imaging methodology to tumors with redundant intrinsic resistant mechanisms such as lung cancer requires further investigations on the relative contribution and clinical relevance of each mechanism. Due to the multifactorial nature of the phenomenon, the development of new tracers with substrate specificity for other known drug transporters would hopefully help to dissect the complex array of cellular mechanisms contributing to treatment failure.