, Volume 12, Issue 9, pp 606-613
Date: 23 Sep 2010

The role of magnetic resonance imaging in oncology

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Conventional diagnostic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques have focused on improving the spatial resolution and image acquisition speed (whole-body MRI) or on new contrast agents. Most advances in MRI go beyond morphologic study to obtain functional and structural information in vivo about different physiological processes of tumor microenvironment, such as oxygenation levels, cellular proliferation, or tumor vascularization through MRI analysis of some characteristics: angiogenesis (perfusion MRI), metabolism (MRI spectroscopy), cellularity (diffusion-weighted MRI), lymph node function, or hypoxia [blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) MRI]. We discuss the contributions of different MRI techniques than must be integrated in oncologic patients to substantially advance tumor detection and characterization risk stratification, prognosis, predicting and monitoring response to treatment, and development of new drugs.