Scientists create imaging ‘toolkit’ to help identify new brain tumor drug targets

Breckwoldt, M. et al. Correlated magnetic resonance imaging and ultramicroscopy (MR-UM) is a tool kit to assess the dynamics of glioma angiogenesis. eLife, 2016; 5

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Brain tumor vascularisation is visualized using T2*-weighted magnetic resonance imaging.
Credit: Breckwoldt, Bode et al.

Stopping the growth of blood vessels in tumors is a key target for glioblastoma therapies, and imaging methods are essential for initial diagnosis and monitoring the effects of treatments. A team of researchers has developed a combined magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultramicroscopy ‘toolkit’ to study vessel growth in glioma models in more detail than previously possible.

In their study in mice, the team combined an MRI approach in vivo with ultramicroscopy of ex vivo whole brains cleared for imaging.

The technique is based on T2*-weighted (T2*-w) MRI images, one of the basic pulse sequences in MRI, with high resolution to allow for substantially more detail than conventional T2*-w imaging. Pre- and post-contrast MR scans were performed to define the growth of vessels during glioma development in two different glioma models.

The team further mapped the development of vessels by dual-colour ultramicroscopy of whole, cleared brains. Using fluorescent labelling of microvessels, they collected complementary 3D MR and ultramicroscopy data sets (dubbed the ‘MR-UM’), which could be compared side-by-side.

Read the commentary article via ScienceDaily

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Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Needs Better Imaging, Not Better Algorithms or Biomarkers

McIntosh, M et al. JCO January 10, 2016 vol. 34 no. 2 199-200

The United Kingdom Cooperative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS) is testing whether interpretation of annual serum CA-125 concentrations by using the Risk of Ovarian Cancer Algorithm (ROCA) will reduce deaths as a result of invasive epithelial ovarian or tubal cancer (iEOC). ROCA diverges from the familiar single-threshold (ST) rule in two important ways: the test recommendation is calculated by using the entire screening history, and the recommendations include intermediate-risk categories that lead to retesting, possibly multiple times over several months, until the risk assessment is resolved.

In their title and abstract, Menon et al highlight that ROCA detected 85.8% of iEOCs, which was twice the rate of the ST rule with a CA-125 cutoff value of 35 U/mL, and which kept specificity to 99.8%. Several factors may lead readers to attribute greater benefits to screening than is supported by the data or is claimed by the authors.

Most factors largely relate to the counterintuitive meaning that these types of analyses give to ordinarily familiar words, like detection, sensitivity, and specificity. Menon et al are clear on these points, but the growing interest in their work will lead many to consider screening that is based only on reading summary statements, possibly from entities that are marketing ovarian cancer screening services.

Read the full comment article via JCO

Challenges of Pancreatic Cancer

The Cancer Journal: May/June 2015 – Volume 21 – Issue 3.

pancreatic mass

Abstract: The development of novel molecular cancer imaging agents has considerably advanced in recent years. Numerous cancer imaging agents have demonstrated remarkable potential for aiding the diagnosis, staging, and treatment planning at the preclinical stage, which in turn has led to a number of agents being approved for human trials.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is currently the most deadly common carcinoma with an overall 5-year survival rate of about 6%. As detection technologies progress, the need for molecular imaging tools that will allow the diagnosis at an early stage will be crucial to improving patient outcomes. In this review, we will highlight agents that illuminate various cell populations that comprise the tumor: epithelial, endothelial, and stromal tumor cells.

via Current Issue : The Cancer Journal.