Enhanced Cancer Diagnosis – PET and MRI merged

The blend of two different technologies PET and MRI has brought remarkable results in cancer diagnosis. The PET/MRI scan fuses anatomic images from the MRI and functional information from the PET scan to create a high-resolution diagnostic tool. Researchers at University Hospitals Case Medical Center (Cleveland, OH, USA), in collaboration with researchers from Philips Healthcare (Eindhoven,The Netherlands) examined 145 cancer patients with a double-scanning protocol of Positron Emission Tomography (PET)/ Computerized tomography (CT) followed by a PET/ Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) performed on the Philips Ingenuity TF PET/MRI system, which brings together the complementary capabilities of both to better visualize both functional and anatomical information, and to superimpose this information in a combined digital image. The relative strengths and weaknesses of the two modalities are complementary, which makes each of them compensate the limitations of the other.
This would be a new hybrid imaging modality which evolves as a synergy to better understand both the anatomical and functional details. The technology fuses the images to more precisely pinpoint cancer locations and improve the accuracy of disease staging.

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PET/MRI provides benefits in the diagnosis, staging, and treatment planning of colorectal cancers, cervical, uterine, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers, as well as in the diagnostic management of paediatric and young adult patients.

“This hybrid scanner has the potential to improve patient care by increasing understanding of the causes, effects, and development of disease processes to better diagnose cancer and various other diseases,” added said study coauthor nuclear radiologist Norbert Avril, MD. “We are very excited to be among the first to be able to help establish guidelines of how best to use this technology to guide physicians on the value of the PET/MRI in diagnosing and staging various forms of cancer. Our initial experience has shown that it may be a very important cancer-fighting tool.”

Researchers also outline the considerations of reduction in overall radiation imaging exposure with PET/MRI versus other imaging technologies. Given the similar performance of PET/MR compared to PET/ CT in some disease entities, there is potential to decrease radiation exposure in replacing the CT component in PET/CT with MRI. This may especially be an issue in paediatric and young adult patients with need for repetitive follow up imaging.

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