MR spectroscopy shows assessment strength for brain tumor treatment

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MR spectroscopy (MRS) allows clinicians to detect when a brain tumor patient is not responding to a specific chemotherapy regimen earlier than anatomic imaging, such as a conventional MRI and CT scans, according to researchers at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

Clinicians at the institution recently participated in a pilot study with the Montreal Neurological Institute on MRS utilization in patients with recurring malignant brain tumors who were receiving chemotherapy to determine if the tumors were responding to treatment early by assessing metabolic changes in a brain tumor via MRS, according to Science Daily.

“The study has shown that response to brain tumor treatment can be detected earlier and faster by metabolic imaging instead of through structural imaging or assessment of the neurological status of a patient,” said Mark C. Preul, MD, Newsome chair of neurosurgery research at St. Joseph's.

A benefit of MRS imaging is that it poses no radiation risk to the patient, the researchers noted.

“Frequent use of this type of imaging may be a useful tool to follow a patient’s response to chemotherapy for malignant brain tumors,” Preul said. “It gives us the ability to identify treatment failure early and more time to alter a patient’s treatment plan before the disease progresses.”