New MRI technique more accurately detects lung cancer

A new type of diagnostic MRI can differentiate benign lung lesions from those that are cancerous more accurately than PET-CT scans.

A new type of magnetic resonance-based diagnostic imaging can differentiate benign lung lesions from those that are cancerous more accurately than PET-CT scans.

PET-CT scans are currently used to determine whether detected lung lesions are cancerous. While this is the current gold standard for treatment, Belgian researchers at University Hospitals Leuven (Leuven, Belgium) have now shown that a type of MRI scan, known as diffusion-weighted MRI, is more accurate.

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

The Belgian researchers took a sample of 50 people who and had been diagnosed with lung cancer or suspected lung cancer from an examination of their PET-CT scans. One day before their operation, the same group also underwent a diffusion-weighted MRI scan.

The results showed that of the 33 patients that were scanned with the PET-CT method, 33 patients were diagnosed correctly and 7 incorrectly, while for 10 patients a diagnosis could not be determined. With diffusion-weighted MRI scans, 45 patients were diagnosed correctly and 5 incorrectly. The 10 undetermined cases with PET-CT were correctly diagnosed using the diffusion-weighted MRI scan.

Dr. Johan Coolen from University Hospitals Leuven said that the research showed that diffusion-weighted MRI scans could become an appropriate diagnostic instrument for pre-operative lung cancer patients in the near future because they provide a highly accurate means to differentiate benign from malignant lung lesions.

-- Posted by Vision Systems Design

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