Researchers at Johns Hopkins say that combining various types of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging techniques more accurately sorts cancers from benign masses in breast tissues than any single imaging techniques. Their findings are presented in the October issue of Radiology.
Magnetic resonance imaging scanners can be calibrated to take images that highlight a specific type of human tissue. For example, so-called T1-weighted imaging sequences are best at imaging fatty tissues, while T2-weighted sequences best show fluids, like those found inside cysts. Additionally, 3-dimensional MR imaging can help define the size and shape of tumors. Contrast agents, dyes injected into patients prior to imaging to concentrate in the tumor and make it more visible, further enhance MR images similar to the way dye in water helps highlight the "veins" in celery stalks.
In their study, Hopkins researchers combined T1, T2 and 3-D imaging techniques, with and without contrast agents, on 36 subjects. Eighteen already had been diagnosed with benign breast lesions, and 18 with breast cancer. The researchers reviewed the results of the combined images without knowing which images came from which patient.
Gary Stephenson | EurekAlert!
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