Volumetric CT in lung cancer: an example for the qualification of imaging as a biomarker.
RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES: New ways to understand biology as well as increasing interest in personalized treatments requires new capabilities for the assessment of therapy response. The lack of consensus methods and qualification evidence needed for large-scale multicenter trials, and in turn the standardization that allows them, are widely acknowledged to be the limiting factor in the deployment of qualified imaging biomarkers. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The Quantitative Imaging Biomarker Alliance is organized to establish a methodology whereby multiple stakeholders collaborate. It has charged the Volumetric Computed Tomography (CT) Technical Subcommittee with investigating the technical feasibility and clinical value of quantifying changes over time in either volume or other parameters as biomarkers. The group selected solid tumors of the chest in subjects with lung cancer as its first case in point. Success is defined as sufficiently rigorous improvements in CT-based outcome measures to allow individual patients in clinical settings to switch treatments sooner if they are no longer responding to their current regimens, and reduce the costs of evaluating investigational new drugs to treat lung cancer. RESULTS: The team has completed a systems engineering analysis, has begun a roadmap of experimental groundwork, documented profile claims and protocols, and documented a process for imaging biomarker qualification as a general paradigm for qualifying other imaging biomarkers as well. CONCLUSION: This report addresses a procedural template for the qualification of quantitative imaging biomarkers. This mechanism is cost-effective for stakeholders while simultaneously advancing the public health by promoting the use of measures that prove effective.