In a retrospective study of 167 patients who underwent radiation therapy for invasive breast cancer after surgical staging of their tumors, physician researchers at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and University of Washington Medical Center found that the tumors' physiological information shown on MRI scans correlated with surgically based findings of cancer having spread to lymph nodes. This suggests that breast MRI could help determine if women scheduled to undergo surgery will later need radiation therapy and how much.
The findings are significant because the standard of care for women with breast cancer has evolved during the past five years. In the past, decisions regarding radiation therapy were made after surgery and before chemotherapy, according to lead author Christopher Loiselle, M.D., a resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at UW Medical Center. Today, increasing numbers of women may be treated with chemotherapy before surgery.
"When you give chemotherapy first, and then perform the surgery to remove the cancer and sample the lymph nodes, you reduce your ability to know whether there was cancer in the axillary (underarm) lymph nodes before the patient was treated with chemotherapy," Loiselle said. "This raises the question: is there another way to stage those lymph nodes? Our study showed that tumor characteristics as seen on an MRI scan may be the answer."
The ultimate benefit is that some women can be spared radiation therapy, especially those with smaller tumors and tumors that have not spread to the lymph nodes, he said..
A contrast dye used routinely in MRI scans not only highlights the size and location of the tumor but also details the blood vessels feeding the tumor. The kinetics or activity of the contrast dye in the tumor provided some key parameters for comparing MRI to traditional surgical tumor staging, he said.
"MRI is evolving rapidly as a diagnostic tool for breast cancer, particularly among women with high risk for the disease, because not only does it give us traditional anatomic information about tumors but information about the biology of the tumor as well," Loiselle said.
Prospective studies will need to be done to confirm the value of MRI scans in staging tumors for radiation therapy, he said.
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06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy