A Breast Tumor's Response To Chemotherapy Can Be Accurately Detected By PET Scans

Researchers in Australia have shown that positron emission tomography (PET) that uses a radioactive sugar molecule is more useful than mammography and ultrasound in predicting a breast tumour's response to chemotherapy and, therefore, the patient's ultimate likelihood of survival.

In research presented at the European Cancer Conference (ECCO 14) in Barcelona, Dr Vinod Ganju reported that when the scanning procedure was used to measure the accumulation of radioactive glucose fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) in tumour tissue from patients with locally-advanced breast cancer before and after preoperative chemotherapy, women who had the highest accumulation at the beginning and who then had the highest percentage drop in accumulation after four cycles of chemotherapy were more likely to have a complete response to their treatment i.e. no tumour cells remaining in the final tumour resection specimen. However, measurements taken using mammography or ultrasound were not able to predict a pathological response accurately.

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MR spectroscopy identifies breast cancer, reduces biopsies

OAK BROOK, Ill.—Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (¹H MRS) used in conjunction with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can aid radiologists in diagnosing breast cancer while reducing the number of false-positive results and invasive biopsies, according to a study focusing on non-mass enhancing breast lesions. The study, conducted at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, appears in the October issue of the journal Radiology.

“All of the cancers present in this study were identified with MR spectroscopy,” said the study’s lead author, Lia Bartella, M.D., director of breast imaging at Eastside Diagnostic Imaging in New York City.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 212,920 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States this year. MRI is playing an increasingly important role in the screening of women at high risk for breast cancer. However, while MRI depicts more abnormal findings than other breast screening procedures, it is not 100 percent accurate in distinguishing benign from malignant lesions, resulting in a large number of breast biopsy procedures recommended on the basis of imaging findings. Currently, approximately 80 percent of breast lesions biopsied are found to be benign.

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Radiologists identify early brain marker of Alzheimer's disease

Researchers using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have found a new marker which may aid in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published in the October issue of Radiology.

“The findings of this study implicate a potential functional, rather than structural, brain marker—separate from atrophy—that may help enhance diagnosis and treatment monitoring of Alzheimer’s patients,” said the study’s lead author, Jeffrey R. Petrella, M.D., associate professor of radiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

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Cancer specialists warn EU directive puts MRI benefits at risk

MADRID (AFP) - Cancer researchers warned at a conference in Spain Monday that an EU directive on limiting magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) could halt use of an important tool in the fight against the disease.

The directive is set to be implemented across Europe by April next year and was drawn up to limit medical workers' exposure to electromagnetic fields.

But Professor Dag Rune Olsen, a specialist in experimental radiation therapy at the Norwegian Radiation Hospital in Oslo, told the European Cancer Conference in Barcelona that the directive could put at risk some eight million annual MRI scans, hampering patient treatment.

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Catheter Angiography May Be An Unnecessary Follow-up To CT Angiography

Science Daily — Even in challenging cases, CT angiography (CTA) offers an accurate and rapid diagnosis for blunt trauma victims who may have aortic or great vessel injury negating the need for more invasive procedures, according to a recent study conducted by radiologists at the University of Washington and the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center in Seattle, WA.

CTA is commonly used to rule out blunt aortic and intrathoracic great vessel injuries, but sometimes the results are indeterminate, said Marla Sammer, MD, lead author of the study. When the results are indeterminate, a subsequent catheter angiography is usually performed.

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Lung Cancer Alliance Stands Behind CT Screening For Lung Cancer

While the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) came out last week in opposition to CT screening for lung cancer, Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) reiterated its support for the screening test which can detect lung cancer at its earliest most treatable stage for those at high risk.

"Mammograms for breast cancer faced enormous opposition for decades and there is still heated debate over screening of women under the age of 50. And there are reams of papers showing no mortality benefit for PSA testing for prostate cancer," said Laurie Fenton Ambrose, President of Lung Cancer Alliance.

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Bright Tumors, Dim Prospects

It doesn't matter how small or large it is, if a cervical tumor glows brightly in a PET scan, it's apt to be more dangerous than dimmer tumors. That's the conclusion of a new study of cervical cancer patients at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

"We've seen that among patients with the same stage of cervical cancer, there will be some patients who don't respond to treatment as well as others," says lead author Elizabeth A. Kidd, M.D., a Barnes-Jewish Hospital resident in Washington University's Department of Radiation Oncology. "Our study suggests that PET (positron emission tomography) can reliably identify patients who have a poorer prognosis."

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New Guidelines For Lung Cancer Oppose General CT Screening

New evidenced-based guidelines from the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) recommend against the use of low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) for the general screening of lung cancer. Published as a supplement to the September issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the ACCP, the guidelines cite there is little evidence to show lung cancer screening impacts mortality in patients, including those who are considered at high risk for the disease. The guidelines also recommend against the use of vitamin or mineral supplements for the prevention of lung cancer, for these do little to decrease the risk of lung cancer, while beta-carotene has been associated with increased risk of lung cancer.

"Even in high risk populations, currently available research data do not show that lung cancer screening alters mortality outcomes," said W. Michael Alberts, MD, FCCP, chair of the ACCP lung cancer guidelines and Chief Medical Officer, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, FL. "We hope that one day, we can find a useful and accurate tool for general lung cancer screening, but, at this time, the evidence does not support the use of LDCT screening."

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Ongoing Training In CT Colonography Recommended For Gastroenterologists

Recognizing that CT colonography will play a role in screening for colorectal cancer (CRC), and the critical need to increase overall CRC screening rates, the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) Institute issued minimum standards for gastroenterologist performance of the test. To ensure competence, a minimum of 75 endoscopically confirmed cases should be interpreted by the physician.

Despite the fact that CT colonography has not yet been endorsed as a primary screening test in asymptomatic, normal risk adults, many patients have shown interest in this test. The indications for CT colonography are controversial, with many payers recommending that this test only be indicated for patients who have had a failed optical colonoscopy or who have a mass obstructing the colon where examination of the entire colon is required prior to surgical resection. Nonetheless, CT colonography may be considered for patients unwilling to undergo other colorectal screening tests, note the authors of the standards paper, which is published in Gastroenterology, the official journal of the AGA Institute.

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New Imaging Technique Reveals Fatty Hearts in Pre-diabetics

(NewsRx.com) -- A simple imaging technique developed by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers has revealed fat buildup in the hearts of pre-diabetic people long before symptoms of heart disease or diabetes appear.

The technique detects fat accumulation in cells of the beating heart in a way no other clinical method can, the researchers said, and may provide a way to screen patients for early signs of heart disease in diabetes.

“Hearts beat; people breathe; and magnetic resonance imaging is very sensitive to motion, so we had to find a way to electronically ‘freeze' the image of the heart,” said Dr. Lidia Szczepaniak, assistant professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and senior author of a study appearing in the Sept. 4 issue of Circulation.

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Greater Efficiency And Diagnostic Certainty In Cardiac MRI

Now functional cardiac analysis is performed even faster than before with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - thanks to a new software module from Siemens: the new "Inline Ventricular Function" (Inline VF) enables full automatic detection of heart contours and their motion during image acquisition. Physicists can accurately evaluate cardiac functioning immediately after the scan. Previously, the image data had to be transferred to post-processing consoles, and frequently contours had to be post-processed manually. Functional data are extremely important for the evaluation of myocardial infarction or myocarditis. They are also equally necessary when determining indications for ICD implants implantable cardioverter-defibrillator).

Inline VF is integrated as a software module directly into the acquisition sequence, enabling calculation of functional data already during image acquisition. The heart is localized on MR images automatically; the system detects the inner and outer contours and generates the functional data without additional mouse clicks. Already now MRI is the gold standard for functional cardiac diagnostics, the efficient workflow means that even more patients will be able to benefit from this radiation-free cardiological procedure.

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Alternative Method Of Urinary Tract Imaging Reduces Radiation Dose

The split-bolus (cross sectional imaging) MDCT urography technique reduces both radiation dose and number of images produced, according to a recent study conducted by radiologists from Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, CA and VA Palo Alto Health Care System in Palo Alto, CA.

"Since CT urography was first conceived, in the late 90s, there have been a multitude of protocols described in the literature. The vast majority of these protocols entail scanning patients before contrast and at multiple phases after the administration of IV contrast," said Lawrence C. Chow, MD, lead author of the study. "We wanted to show that a similar examination could be achieved with fewer scan acquisitions [meaning potentially less radiation and fewer images] by administering a split-bolus of IV contrast, without sacrificing sensitivity," he said.

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