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New diagnostic imaging for lung cancer could prevent unnecessary surgery
Date:9/25/2011

Amsterdam, The Netherlands: A new type of diagnostic imaging - which can better differentiate benign lung lesions from those which are cancerous - could be used to prevent unnecessary surgery by enabling more accurate diagnosis of the disease.

A study by Belgian researchers, which will be presented today (25 September 2011) at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Amsterdam, found that the new technique can more accurately determine whether people have the disease when compared with the current method of PET-CT scans.

PET-CT scans are currently used by a doctor to determine what stage the cancer is at and whether the detected lung lesions are cancerous. This test involves a CT scan taking pictures from around your body and a PET scan which uses a small amount of an injected radioactive drug to show uptake within structures in your body.

Whilst this is the current gold-standard for treatment, this new research has shown that a type of MRI scan, known as diffusion-weighted MRI, is more accurate. This technique measures water movement in the tissue of the lungs and can detect the structural changes that lung cancer causes, even in the early stages of the disease.

The new technique also has the advantage of being non-invasive and does not require any radiation exposure.

The research analysed 50 people who were due to be operated on and had been diagnosed with lung cancer or suspected lung cancer assessed by PET-CT scan. One day before their operation, the same group also underwent a diffusion-weighted MRI scan.

The results showed that with PET-CT scans, 33 patients were diagnosed correctly, 7 incorrectly and 10 were undetermined. With diffusion-weighted MRI scans, 45 patients were diagnosed correctly and 5 incorrectly. The 10 undetermined cases with PET-CT were correctly diagnosed using diffusion-weighted MRI scan.

Dr Johan Coolen, from University Hospitals Leuven in Belgium, said:
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Contact: Lauren Anderson
lauren.anderson@europeanlung.org
31-610-860-810
European Lung Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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