More than 200,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year and 28,000 die from it, making it one of the most common cancer in men nationwide and also one of the leading causes of cancer death in men, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Yet the disease ranges widely in its rate of growth and aggressiveness, according to John Kurhanewicz, PhD, a UCSF expert in prostate cancer imaging. As a result, there is great debate over the ideal strategy for treating the disease, he said, leaving patients with a difficult and potentially life-changing decision over how aggressively to respond to the disease.
"This test could give both physicians and patients the information they need to make that decision," said Kurhanewicz, whose work with Dan Vigneron, PhD, and their colleagues from the UCSF Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging first linked a prostate tumor's production of lactate to tumor aggressiveness. Other researchers also have linked that lactate production to tumor aggressiveness and response to therapy in other cancers.
The method uses compounds involved in normal tissue function in this case, pyruvate, which is a naturally occurring by-product of glucose, and lactate, also known as lactic acid and uses newly developed equipment to increase the visibility of those compounds by a factor of 50,000 in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner.
That process requires pyruvate to be prepared in a strong magnetic field at a temperature of minus 272O C, then rapidly warmed to body temperature and transferred to the patient in an MRI scanner before the polarization decays back to its native state.
The result is a highly defined and clear image of the tumor's outline, as well as a graph of the amount of pyruvate in the tumor and the rate at which the tumor converts
|Contact: Kristen Bole|
University of California - San Francisco