Clinical Oncology/Epidemiology

The assessment of treatment response in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma by image guided 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy

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Serial image guided 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) studies were performed in eight patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma to determine the changes in phosphorus metabolites that occur in vivo in response to chemotherapy. Pre-treatment spectral characteristics were different in high and low grade lymphoma. A larger inorganic phosphate (Pi) peak was seen in high grade NHL relative to phosphomonoesters (PME) or beta adenosine triphosphate (beta ATP), producing significant differences in the PME/Pi and Pi/beta ATP metabolite ratios, and probably reflecting a larger hypoxic cell fraction within the high grade lymphomas. Consistent metabolite changes were seen with treatment, and before reductions in tumour bulk had occurred. Alterations in tumour energetics with changes in Pi and beta ATP, and increases in phospholipid turnover reflected as an increase in the phosphodiester (PDE) resonance were detected. Changes were seen between days 10 and 27 in low grade lymphoma treated with oral alkylating therapy and between days 1 and 5 in lymphoma treated with intensive combination chemotherapy. Increases in the PDE/beta ATP metabolite ratio may be an early indicator of response to chemotherapy in human tumours. These studies illustrate the feasibility and clinical potential of image guided 31P MRS as a means of assessing response to therapy.

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