ARRS: MRI chemical analysis identifies renal cell tumors

Adding chemical-shift analysis techniques to MRI exams can help differentiate conventional clear renal cell carcinoma from other types of cancer, according to a study presented Friday at the American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) meeting in Washington, DC.

This differentiation can help physicians better determine treatment, according to lead author and presenter Dr. Azadeh Elmi of the Massachusetts General Hospital Division of Abdominal Imaging and Interventional Radiology in Boston.

The study included 156 individuals with pathologically confirmed renal cell carcinoma. Chemical-shift MRI enabled the research team to quantify microscopic areas of fat, which is not seen on conventional MR images. The study determined chemical-shift MRI had an 83% accuracy rate in differentiating clear renal cell carcinoma from other types of kidney cancer.

Additionally, chemical-shift MRI can be performed at no additional cost, according to Elmi.

"Clear cell renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer, and it has the greatest potential to metastasize. As we are moving toward less invasive treatment strategies for cancer patients, the need to better distinguish tumor characteristics is becoming greater," Elmi said.

The researchers said their study demonstrates that chemical-shift MRI is a promising tool in renal cell cancer characterization before planning treatment.

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