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November 9, 2015 / drjamesfreije

MRI Scans May Predict Chemotherapy’s Effects on Head and Neck Cancer

Dr. James Freije, an associate in otolaryngology and head and neck surgery with Mount Nittany Physician Group, has given a number of presentations and written several publications about head and neck cancer throughout his career. In addition to his medical practice, Dr. James Freije serves on the Cancer Committee for the Mount Nittany Medical Center.

It was recently discovered by a team of researchers at the University of Manchester that it may be possible to predict, through the use of MRI scans, how patients with head and neck cancer will respond to chemotherapy treatment. Current treatment for such patients often involves using chemotherapy prior to radiotherapy or surgery in an attempt to slow the progression of the disease. However, researchers believed that pre-treatment chemotherapy was less effective among patients who had tumors with low blood flow. While blood flow has previously been assessed using CT scans, this is the first time an MRI technique was used.

Researchers used a dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI to check vessel structure and blood flow within a tumor. This imaging technique involves injecting a tracing agent into the body while taking MRI scans to follow its movement. The most recent study found that the blood flow recorded in a patient’s tumor was an effective predictor of how they responded to induction chemotherapy. Higher blood flow led to the most beneficial results. Researchers hope that this new information will improve patient outcomes by helping physicians determine whether or not an individual will actually benefit from induction chemotherapy.

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