Using Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy With MRI to Non-Invasively Determine Breast Cancer Extent of Disease

2014-08-27 03:45:16 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging of the axilla with spectroscopy can identify nodal features suggestive of metastatic involvement in patients diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. This may enable us to define a select group of patients for whom axillary lymph node dissection could be avoided.


Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women. The spread of cancer from the breast to the lymph nodes is a significant factor in determining breast cancer survival. Currently, surgical procedures are performed to determine lymph node involvement. Full axillary lymph node dissection has a high morbidity associated with the procedure. While sentinel lymphadenectomy avoids a full axillary dissection in clinically negative axilla in untreated patients, it has been reported to have a false negative rate of less than 10%. Others have reported higher false negative rates after neoadjuvant chemotherapy. For those reasons, there is considerable interest in non-invasive methods that may allow staging of the axilla.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast with contrast-enhancement is increasingly being used in breast cancer patients to determine the size of the tumor and its extent. A few reports from Europe have been published regarding its use in evaluating axillary lymph node metastases preoperatively, and the results appear promising. Kvistad et al. demonstrated lymph node metastases using dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI, in which the study had a sensitivity of 83%, a specificity of 90%, and an accuracy of 88%. Luciani et al, suggest that lymph nodes with a large size, irregular contours, round hila, high-signal intensity on T2 sequences, and those with marked enhancement are associated with malignancy.

Magnetic resonance imaging with spectroscopy (MRS) has been used in clinical practice for evaluation of brain tumors as a method for noninvasive detection of tumor metabolism. More recently, it has been used on other soft-tissue tumors, including breast. Like other soft-tissue tumors, breast cancers have increased levels of the amino acid choline. In several studies, the sensitivity and specificity of MRS for detecting breast cancer ranged from 73%-92% and 71%-93%, respectively. No known MRS data has been published regarding axillary lymph node involvement in patients with breast cancer. It is postulated that the choline peak should be elevated in lymph nodes with metastatic breast cancer.

This is an observational study. All eligible patients who give informed consent will complete a MRI/MRS screening questionnaire and if there are no contraindications will undergo MRI/MRS imaging prior to their clinically indicated sentinel lymphadenectomy which may be followed by axillary dissection to be determined by surgeon during the course of surgery.

Study Design

Time Perspective: Prospective


Breast Cancer


Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy


Mammography Clinic - UNC Hospitals
Chapel Hill
North Carolina
United States




University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:45:16-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A technique applicable to the wide variety of substances which exhibit paramagnetism because of the magnetic moments of unpaired electrons. The spectra are useful for detection and identification, for determination of electron structure, for study of interactions between molecules, and for measurement of nuclear spins and moments. (From McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 7th edition) Electron nuclear double resonance (ENDOR) spectroscopy is a variant of the technique which can give enhanced resolution. Electron spin resonance analysis can now be used in vivo, including imaging applications such as MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING.

Spectroscopic method of measuring the magnetic moment of elementary particles such as atomic nuclei, protons or electrons. It is employed in clinical applications such as NMR Tomography (MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING).

Magnetic resonance spectroscopy involving detection of changes in the resonance of carbon-13 nuclei in organic molecules.

Spectroscopy technique which measures changes in organic compounds by tracking the spectral energy of absorption of HYDROGEN atoms.

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