Advances in ultra-high field MRI for the clinical management of patients with brain tumors

Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, University of California, San Francisco, California 94158-2330, USA.
Current opinion in neurology (Impact Factor: 5.73). 10/2011; 24(6):605-15. DOI: 10.1097/WCO.0b013e32834cd495
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The last 5 years have seen the number of ultra-high field (UHF; 7 T and beyond) MRI scanners nearly double. Benefits include improved specificity, better sensitivity for signal-starved compounds, and the ability to detect, quantify, and monitor tumor activity and treatment effects. This is especially important in the current climate in which new treatments alter established markers of tumor and the surrounding environment, confounding traditional response criteria.
Intra-tumoral heterogeneity and dramatic improvement in spatial localization have been observed with 7 and 8 T high-resolution T2-weighted and T2*-weighted imaging. This depiction of lesions that were not readily detected at lower field improved the classification of glioma. Sub-millimeter visualization of microvasculature has facilitated the detection of microbleeds associated with long-term effects of radiation. New metabolic markers seen at UHF may also assist in distinguishing tumor progression from treatment effect.
Although progress has been limited by technical challenges, initial experience has demonstrated the promise of 7-T MRI in advancing existing paradigms for diagnosing, monitoring, and managing patients with brain tumors. The success of these systems will depend upon what new information can be gained by UHF, rather than simply improving the quality of the current lower field standard.

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