Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New imaging technique developed to identify breast cancer


Researchers at Johns Hopkins have for the first time used a chemical marker detected by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) to successfully diagnose breast cancer. The diagnostic technique produces pictures of choline within breast tumors.

In the study, researchers from the Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science at Hopkins demonstrated that choline signals analyzed by MRI were significantly elevated in malignant tumors in 15 of 18 patients studied. Three of the cases could not be included because of technical failures such as patient movement or computer failure during the scanning procedure.

The results are published in the December-January issue of the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Scientists have long known that cancers contain elevated levels of choline, a product of membrane synthesis, but the Hopkins study is believed to be the first to demonstrate its value in accurately identifying breast tumors.

MRSI of the breast does not appear likely to be cost-effective as a routine screening tool for breast cancer, but may prove to be a viable, noninvasive alternative to biopsy in cases with positive mammography or clinical breast exam results, says Michael A. Jacobs, Ph.D., the lead researcher for the Hopkins study. "What MRSI does provide is information about the molecular environment of breast tumors, which also may be useful in designing therapeutic interventions for patients."

Proton magnetic resonance imaging uses the water content in tissue to produce images by measuring signals emitted after subjecting the tissue to high magnetic fields, but provides no information on the chemical or molecular aspects of the tissue being imaged. Combining proton MRI with spectroscopy allows the scientists to differentiate intracellular components of the cell and signals emitted by certain biochemicals, such as choline.

In the study, 15 patients who had been referred for MRI evaluation after previous examination had revealed breast tumors underwent regular breast MRI to identify the lesion. These studies were followed by MRSI scanning to determine if choline signals in the tumors could be adequately imaged using spectroscopy. Biopsies performed after the imaging revealed that eight of the tumors were malignant carcinomas and seven were benign. MRSI showed elevated choline levels in all eight of the malignant tumors.

"These data are proof of principle, and strongly suggest that MRSI can serve as an important adjunct to the routine MRI scan that may aid physicians in making a diagnosis of breast cancer," says Jacobs. "We can envision a time when this procedure may even replace the need for biopsy in some cases and provide the basis to follow treatment strategies in certain cases of breast cancer. However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential impact of these findings."

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions’ news releases are available on an EMBARGOED basis on EurekAlert at and from the Office of Communications and Public Affairs’ direct e-mail news release service. To enroll, call 410-955-4288 or send e-mail to

Gary Stephenson | JHMI
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>