MRI shows ability to measure breast cancer hypoxia

A novel MRI approach developed by researchers from Austria showed promise for non-invasively measuring hypoxia and neovascularization in breast tumors, according to a Jan. 24 article published by Physicsworld.

The new method, designed to easily fit into diagnostic MRI protocol, is based on two previously developed techniques called advanced quantitative blood oxygenation level dependent imaging (qBOLD) and vascular architectural mapping (VAM).

Katja Pinker, of the Medical University of Vienna in Austria, and colleagues performed multiparametric MRI, including qBOLD and VAM, on 20 patients with benign and malignant breast tumors. Custom-made software calculated MRI biomarker maps which allowed the researchers to measure tissue hypoxia and neovascularization.

“This indicates that breast cancer consumes more oxygen and is more hypoxic and neovascularized than benign tumors,” the authors wrote in the study published in Molecular Imaging and Biology. “These findings confirm the importance of tumor hypoxia and neovascularization as powerful physiological stimuli that can be exploited as a tumor-specific condition and can be used to design hypoxia-based imaging biomarkers and hypoxia-activated anti-cancer drugs.”

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