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La técnica de MRI prueba útil para los pacientes con el cáncer común de la sangre

por Loren Bonner, DOTmed News Online Editor | January 30, 2014
Dr. Nandita deSouza
An MRI technique could help physicians pinpoint a common blood cancer called myeloma, and in turn, improve care for patients.

A new study published in the journal Radiology found that whole-body, diffusion-weighted MRI scans showed the spread of cancer throughout the bone marrow of patients with myeloma more accurately than standard tests. Conventional tests include bone marrow biopsies, which can be painful for patients, and blood tests. However, both often fail to show physicians how far the disease has spread.

Researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research in London and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust examined the scans of 26 patients who had whole-body, diffusion-weighted MRI scans before and after treatment.

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In 86 percent of cases, radiologists were able to correctly identify whether patients responded to treatment. They also correctly identified those patients who weren't responding to treatment 80 percent of the time, according to the study.

Physicians were able to receive results immediately.

"We can look on the screen and see straight away where the cancer is, and measure how severe it is," said Dr. Nandita deSouza, professor of translational imaging at the Institute of Cancer Research, in a statement. "The scan is better than blood tests, which don't tell us in which bones the cancer is located. It also reduces the need for uncomfortable biopsies, which don't reveal the extent or severity of the disease."

Since the study is small, researchers acknowledge that further testing should be done on more patients.

According to the latest statistics available from the International Myeloma Foundation, the disease affects nearly 750,000 people worldwide. In industrialized countries it's being diagnosed in growing numbers and in increasingly younger people.

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