Diffusion-Weighted MRI Trumps PET-CT in Lung Lesion Analysis, Study Says

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Diffusion-weighted MRI may be a better determinant than PET-CT of whether lung lesions are cancerous or benign, according to a study conducted by Belgian researchers and presented yesterday at the European Respiratory Society’s Annual Congress in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The modality could then be used to prevent unnecessary surgery by enabling more accurate diagnosis of lung cancer, the study indicates.

Researchers who conducted the study note that while PET-CT is the current “gold standard” of lung cancer treatment, their work pegs diffusion-weighted MRI as superior to PET-CT in lung cancer diagnosis in part because it measures water movement in the tissue of the lungs, thus detecting structural changes caused by lung cancer even in the early stages of the disease. The new technique also has the advantage of being non-invasive and does not require any radiation exposure.

The research involved analyses of 50 individuals who were due for surgery as a result of lung cancer and had either been diagnosed with the disease or were or suspected to be afflicted with it based on examination by PET-CT scan. The same group of subjects underwent diffusion-weighted MRI scans one day prior to the surgery.

The results showed that with PET-CT scans, 33 patients were diagnosed correctly; seven, incorrectly; and 10, undetermined. With diffusion-weighted MRI scans, 45 patients were diagnosed correctly and five incorrectly. The 10 undetermined cases with PET-CT were correctly diagnosed using diffusion-weighted MRI scan.

To read the press release, click here: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-09/elf-ndi092311.php.