Change in lung tumor volume as a biomarker of treatment response: a critical review of the evidence.
SPECIFIC AIM: To review the evidence indicating that volumetric image analysis of computed tomography scans meets specifications for qualification as a biomarker in clinical trials or the management of individual patients with lung cancer. METHODS: Claims of value were broken down into questions about technical feasibility, accuracy, the precision of measurement, sensitivity, the correlations with health outcomes, and the risks of producing misleading information. For each claim, the pertinent literature was reviewed. RESULTS: Technical feasibility has now been shown, but only in limited contexts. Accuracy has been demonstrated, but only for tumors with favorable anatomical features. Measurement error still makes the assessment of change in small nodules precarious in diagnostic settings unless rigorous image acquisition and analysis procedures are followed. Precision is sufficient in some larger masses to make volumetrics a sensitive biomarker. In a few trials, correlations with clinical outcomes have been higher for volumetric-based measures than for unidimensional or bidimensional diameters. Value in clinical practice settings and clinical trials has been suggested, but not proven. CONCLUSION: The weight of the evidence indicates there are circumstances in which volumetric image analysis adds value to clinical trial science and the practice of medicine.