Target Heterogeneity in Oncology: The Best Predictor for Differential Response to Radioligand Therapy in Neuroendocrine Tumors and Prostate Cancer

This article was originally published here

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Jul 19;13(14):3607. doi: 10.3390/cancers13143607.


Tumor or target heterogeneity (TH) implies presence of variable cellular populations having different genomic characteristics within the same tumor, or in different tumor sites of the same patient. The challenge is to identify this heterogeneity, as it has emerged as the most common cause of ‘treatment resistance’, to current therapeutic agents. We have focused our discussion on ‘Prostate Cancer’ and ‘Neuroendocrine Tumors’, and looked at the established methods for demonstrating heterogeneity, each with its advantages and drawbacks. Also, the available theranostic radiotracers targeting PSMA and somatostatin receptors combined with targeted systemic agents, have been described. Lu-177 labeled PSMA and DOTATATE are the ‘standard of care’ radionuclide therapeutic tracers for management of progressive treatment-resistant prostate cancer and NET. These approved therapies have shown reasonable benefit in treatment outcome, with improvement in quality of life parameters. Various biomarkers and predictors of response to radionuclide therapies targeting TH which are currently available and those which can be explored have been elaborated in details. Imaging-based features using artificial intelligence (AI) need to be developed to further predict the presence of TH. Also, novel theranostic tools binding to newer targets on surface of cancer cell should be explored to overcome the treatment resistance to current treatment regimens.

PMID:34298822 | DOI:10.3390/cancers13143607