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High-tech 'whole body' scan could improve treatment of bone marrow cancer
Date:1/28/2014

The new type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan could improve care for a type of cancer called myeloma and reduce reliance on bone marrow biopsies, which can be painful for patients and often fail to show doctors how far the disease has spread.

The research is published today (Tuesday) in the journal Radiology and was carried out by researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

It received funding from Cancer Research UK and the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Facility in Imaging, with additional funding from the EPSRC.

The new whole-body, diffusion-weighted MRI scans showed the spread of cancer throughout the bone marrow of patients with myeloma - one of the most common forms of blood cancer - more accurately than standard tests. The scans also showed whether the patients were responding to cancer treatments.

In the study 26 patients had whole-body, diffusion-weighted MRI scans before and after treatment. In 86% of cases, experienced doctors trained in imaging were able to correctly identify whether patients responded to treatment. The doctors also correctly identified those patients who weren't responding to treatment 80% of the time.

Using the scanning technique, doctors could pinpoint exactly where the cancer was in the bones, with the results available immediately. Conventional tests include bone marrow biopsies and blood tests but neither shows accurately where the cancer is present in the bones.

The researchers also assessed the visible changes on the MRI scans, using a measurement called the Apparent Diffusion Coefficient (ADC), which records how restricted water movement is within tissues. Changes in this measurement correctly identified treatment response for 24 of 25 myeloma patients.

The new scan was able to visualise cancer in almost all bones in the body, with only the skull remaining di
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Contact: Graham Shaw
Graham.Shaw@icr.ac.uk
44-020-715-35380
Institute of Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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