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Biochemical profile may help diagnose, determine aggressiveness of prostate cancer
Date:1/27/2010

Magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy which analyzes the biochemistry rather than the structure of tissues may someday be able both to pinpoint the precise location of prostate cancer and to determine the tumor's aggressiveness, information that could help guide treatment planning. In the January 27 online issue of Science Translational Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers report how spectroscopic analysis of the biochemical makeup of prostate glands accurately identified the location of tissue confirmed to be malignant by conventional pathology.

"Collectively analyzing all the metabolites measurable with a 7-Tesla MR scanner maps out prostate cancer in a way that cannot be achieved by any other current radiological test or by analyzing changes in a single metabolite," says Leo L. Cheng, PhD, of the MGH Imaging and Pathology departments, the study's senior author. "It detects tumors that cannot be found with other imaging approaches and may give us information that can help determine the best course of treatment."

Prostate-specific antigen screening indicates the potential presence of a tumor, but since benign prostate conditions also affect PSA levels, a surgical biopsy is necessary to detect cancer. Since a tumor may be confined to only a small portion of the prostate, without a way to identify the most suspicious regions, a biopsy sample can miss the malignant area. In 2005, Cheng and his colleagues found that information provided by MR spectroscopy could distinguish prostate cancer from benign tissue and was superior to traditional pathological studies in determining a tumor's prognosis. That investigation analyzed tiny tissue samples with an advanced technique utilizing a powerful research magnet. The current study, building on the 2005 study, used a clinical MR scanner to analyze whole prostate glands, an approach that could be applied to patient care.

Spectroscopic readings were taken acr
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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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