Magnetic Resonance Imaging Evaluation of Radiation-Induced Changes in Experimentally Implanted Renal Cell Carcinoma

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The effect of radiation on the magnetic resonance imaging appearance and relaxation parameters of human renal cell tumors implanted in male white-Swiss athymic nude mice was evaluated. Twenty-three mice were treated with external beam radiation, receiving a total dose of 2,500 rads administered in a single treatment limited to subcutaneous tumor. Twenty-two tumor-bearing mice served as control animals. Experimental and control mice were studied with MRI at four (n = 9), seven (n = 20), 14 (n=8), and 28 (n = 8) days following experimental radiotherapy. A 0.35 tesla superconductive MRI system was employed. Images were generated using spin-echo technique with repetition times (TR) of 500 and 2,000 ms and echo-delay times (TE) of 28 to 30 and 56 to 60. Relaxation time calculations were made on the basis of tumor signal-intensity measurements in assigned regions of interest. The MRI appearances and relaxation times of irradiated tumors that decreased in size following treatment, irradiated tumors that grew, and control tumors were similar, as were their histologic features. No statistically significant differences could be detected in relaxation times of the four experimental and four control groups. Statistical evaluation was performed using analysis of variance. Further investigation of MRIs potential in tissue characterization following radiotherapy is warranted, but evaluation of change in tumor dimensions remains the most reliable indicator of therapeutic response.

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