由 Diana Bradley
, Staff Writer | September 29, 2011
Unnecessary lung cancer surgery could be avoided with new diffusion-weighted MRI scans, according to a new study.
Presented by Belgian researchers at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Amsterdam on Sunday, the study found that lung lesions were better diagnosed with the new diagnostic imaging technique, when compared with PET-CT scans.
"Our study has shown that diffusion-weighted MRI scans could become an appropriate diagnostic instrument for preoperative lung cancer patients in the near future because they have a high accuracy for differentiating benign from malignant lung lesions," Dr. Johan Coolen, from Belgium's University Hospitals Leuven, said in a statement.
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Doctors currently use PET-CT scans to diagnose lung lesions and determine the cancer's stage. A diffusion-weighted MRI, which requires no ionizing radiation exposure and is non-invasive, detects the structural changes that lung cancer causes by measuring water movement in lung tissue.
"PET-CT scans can wrongly diagnose cancer as they can misinterpret inflammation in the lungs as a malignant lesion," said Coolen. "Especially in these inflammatory lesions, diffusion-weighted MRI is more accurate, which could help avoid unnecessary surgical procedures for those people without malignant disease. In addition, it could help to classify patients with lung cancer to enable doctors to provide the most effective therapeutic procedures."
The study involved 50 people assessed by a PET-CT scan and diagnosed with lung cancer or suspected lung cancer -- all due to be operated on. Thirty-three patients were correctly diagnosed, seven incorrectly and 10 undetermined. In comparison, when scanned by a diffusion-weighted MRI, 45 patients were correctly diagnosed, and five incorrectly. After using the diffusion-weighted MRI scan, the 10 undetermined PET-CT cases were correctly diagnosed.
A key recommendation of the newly launched European Respiratory Roadmap is to focus on effective screening processes and steer the future of respiratory medicine, according to Prof. Marc Decramer, president of the European Respiratory Society.
"In a bid to improve patient care, the Roadmap also suggests that personalized targeted medicine will improve a patient's quality of life," commented Decramer in a press release. "With the development and evaluation of new technologies such as the diffusion-weighted MRI scan, we can work toward achieving these goals."