Hyung-Jun Im Wins Young Investigator Award

Posted on July 2016

Post-doctoral PET research fellow Hyung-Jun Im, MD, PhD, was selected as the winner of the 2016 Society of Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging (SNMMI) Pediatric Imaging Council Young Investigator Award. The winning abstract involved image-based predictors of survival in pediatric osteosarcoma, and Associate Professor Steve Y. Cho, MD, served as senior author on the study. Other authors include UWSMPH Shapiro Summer Research Student Zhang Yi and Dr. Barry Shulkin of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.

Osteosarcoma is the most common form of bone cancer, usually starting within growing bone tissue at the ends of arm or leg bones. This means that adolescents are particularly susceptible: they make up about half of the cases each year in the U.S. Typical treatment techniques include surgical resection or chemotherapy, but PET imaging also has an important role in quantitative imaging analysis. Metabolic Tumor Volume (MTV) and Total Lesion Glycosis (TLG) are two image-based measures that have been associated with osteosarcoma outcomes, so Dr. Im sought to evaluate the predictive power of the measures in a controlled study environment.

The study cohort consisted of 34 patients with osteosarcoma, who received baseline imaging, chemotherapy, and surgical resection. Investigators followed the patients for a median of 3.5 years, finding that initial MTV and TLG were significantly higher in patients with cancer recurrence or death. They concluded that baseline MTV and TLG are independent predictors of survival in pediatric osteosarcoma, but cautioned that the findings need further validation in larger prospective studies.