The Role of Magnetic Resonance Imaging in (Future) Cancer Staging: Note the Nodes
SourceInvestigative Radiology, 56, 1, (2021), pp. 42-49
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectRadboudumc 0: Other Research RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 15: Urological cancers RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
The presence or absence of lymph node metastases is a very important prognostic factor in patients with solid tumors. Current invasive and noninvasive diagnostic methods for N-staging like lymph node dissection, morphologic computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or positron emission tomography-computed tomography have significant limitations because of technical, biological, or anatomical reasons. Therefore, there is a great clinical need for more precise, reliable, and noninvasive N-staging in patients with solid tumors. Using ultrasmall superparamagnetic particles of ironoxide (USPIO)-enhanced MRI offers noninvasive diagnostic possibilities for N-staging of different types of cancer, including the 4 examples given in this work (head and neck cancer, esophageal cancer, rectal cancer, and prostate cancer). The excellent soft tissue contrast of MRI and an USPIO-based differentiation of metastatic versus nonmetastatic lymph nodes can enable more precise therapy and, therefore, fewer side effects, essentially in cancer patients in oligometastatic disease stage. By discussing 3 important questions in this article, we explain why lymph node staging is so important, why the timing for more accurate N-staging is right, and how it can be done with MRI. We illustrate this with the newest developments in magnetic resonance methodology enabling the use of USPIO-enhanced MRI at ultrahigh magnetic field strength and in moving parts of the body like upper abdomen or mediastinum. For prostate cancer, a comparison with radionuclide tracers connected to prostate specific membrane antigen is made. Under consideration also is the use of MRI for improvement of ex vivo cancer diagnostics. Further scientific and clinical development is needed to assess the accuracy of USPIO-enhanced MRI of detecting small metastatic deposits for different cancer types in different anatomical locations and to broaden the indications for the use of (USPIO-enhanced) MRI in lymph node imaging in clinical practice.
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