PET/MRI highly accurate for cancer diagnoses

PET/MRI hybrid imaging is proving to be a highly accurate and dependable way of diagnosing different cancers, according to research published in the September issue of Current Radiology Reports.

The strengths and weaknesses of the two modalities are synergistic and complementary, according the authors, led by Karin Anna Herrmann, M.D., from the department of radiology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. That means that the advantages of one compensates for the weaknesses of the other.

"Thus, PET/MRI combines the highest anatomical detail as well as biochemical and functional information provided by MRI with the metabolic, molecular, and physiologic information from PET," they said.

Study coauthor Norbert Avril, a professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, added in a statement that the hybrid scanner will enable clinicians to better understand the causes and effects involved in the disease process, which, he said, has the potential to improve patient care.

"Our initial experience has shown that it may be a very important cancer-fighting tool," Avril said.

According to Herrmann, preliminary experience with the hybrid modality at the center shows that the tool is promising for oncologic applications.

"We found the PET/MRI enhanced our ability to detect malignant areas and more accurately and confidently diagnose several types of cancers, potentially providing physicians with the ability to improve treatment planning and better monitor the disease," Hermann said.

In the article, Herrmann and colleagues reported on their experiences with PET/MRI in a number of oncologic settings, including head and neck cancers, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, lymphoma, and pediatric neoplasms. When it comes to colorectal cancer, for example, the authors said that the PET/MRI combination is proving to be a successful combination that "will only strengthen their already high performance in this disease category."

To learn more:
- read the article in Current Radiology Reports
- here's the announcement

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