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Specialized MRI scans assess value of anti-cancer chemotherapy long before tumors shown to shrink
Date:6/28/2012

high-precision, 3-D images, taken shortly before and one month after a form of chemotherapy called transcatheter arterial chemoembolization, could assess the treatment's impact against a rare and advanced form of liver bile duct cancer, known as cholangiocarcinoma. The study involved 29 men and women aged 29 to 82, all undergoing treatment at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Among the key findings in the first study was that 22 people, whose functional MRI scans showed increases in apparent diffusion coefficient scores of over 45 percent, lived at least 10 months longer, while some 17 with coefficient score increases over 60 percent, lived at least 17 months longer.

Kamel, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology, says that cholangiocarcinoma is often diagnosed at such an advanced stage that patients only have on average six months to live. "By the time our patients become jaundiced, start turning yellow from bile buildup and seek medical help, it's almost too late," he says. "They have no time to waste on failed treatments."

The second study, also at Johns Hopkins, tested the scans on 26 men and women, ages 37 to 79, with islet cell carcinoma, a well-known pancreatic cancer. Researchers analyzed some 215 tumorous lesions in these people, scanning shortly before and one month after the same initial treatment for their cancer.

Kamel says physicians have more treatment options with islet cell carcinoma and can switch people from chemoembolization to chemotherapy with either drug Sunitinib or Everolimus.

Results in the second study showed that for 78 tumors, which responded well to chemotherapy, functional MRI scans produced apparent diffusion coefficient score increases averaging at least 70 percent, while in the 137 tumors for which treatment was not a success, increases in coefficient measures averaged less than 40 percent. Treatment was
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Contact: David March
dmarch1@jhmi.edu
410-955-1534
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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