May 2018

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Malignant liver lesions are detected on magnetic resonance imaging prior to appearing visible to radiologists, an animal study published in European Radiology EXPERIMENTAL says.

An experimental study based on an animal model, just published in European Radiology EXPERIMENTAL, is the first to show that cancerous lesions can be detected with radiomics prior to their visibility. The implications of these findings bear potential consequences for therapy planning, in particular for surgical treatment as well as for prognosis of patients affected by colorectal cancers.

The experimental study in mice shows that cancerous lesions can be spotted on magnetic resonance imaging before appearing visible to the radiologist’s eye. Using a quantitative approach consisting of texture analysis – mathematical analysis of the relations between each small image element and the surroundings, the authors were able to predict the presence of cancerous lesions before they were visible. Texture analysis is one of the tools of a new research field named radiomics, which extracts from images, visible or invisible features correlated with the diagnosis and prognosis of diseases.

Co-author Prof. Dr. Andreas Boss: “Texture analysis is a new powerful tool potentially allowing an earlier detection of malignancies compared to the human eye; thereby improving treatment planning and response monitoring.”

Liver primary site for metastases

The liver is the primary site of metastases of cancers such as colorectal cancer, which spread to the liver in about 60% of patients, and is often the reason patients ultimately succumb to their disease. Colorectal cancer itself is the second highest cause of death in men and women suffering from cancer in the Western world.

Potentially improving patient outcomes

These conclusions, even though obtained from an animal model, potentially bear a huge impact, as timely and correct identification of tumour lesions may improve the disease-free survival interval and overall survival rate in oncology. They are especially relevant, as currently two thirds of patients who have undergone liver resection due to metastases from colorectal cancer suffer from recurrence (new liver metastases) within 18 months.

European Radiology EXPERIMENTAL

The ESR journal European Radiology EXPERIMENTAL is fully open access and was founded in 2016. Its focus lies on the experimental setting and basic science applied to radiology. The first and current Editor-in-Chief of European Radiology EXPERIMENTAL is Prof. Francesco Sardanelli from Milan, Italy.

Read and cite this article: Anton S. Becker, Marcel A. Schneider, Moritz C. Wurnig, Matthias Wagner, Pierre A. Clavien, Andreas Boss (2018) Radiomics of liver MRI predict metastases in mice. Eur Radiol Exp 2:11

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