Hypoxia is reported to be a biomarker for poor prognosis in cervical cancer. However, a practical noninvasive method is needed for the routine clinical evaluation of tumor hypoxia. This study examined the potential use of blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) contrast MRI as a noninvasive technique to assess tumor vascular oxygenation at 3T. Following Institutional Review Board-approved informed consent and in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, successful results were achieved in nine patients with locally advanced cervical cancer [International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage IIA to IVA] and three normal volunteers. In the first four patients, dynamic T2*-weighted MRI was performed in the transaxial plane using a multi-shot echo planar imaging sequence whilst patients breathed room air followed by oxygen (15 dm3/min). Later, a multi-echo gradient echo examination was added to provide quantitative R2* measurements. The baseline T2*-weighted signal intensity was quite stable, but increased to various extents in tumors on initiation of oxygen breathing. The signal in normal uterus increased significantly, whereas that in the iliacus muscle did not change. R2* responded significantly in healthy uterus, cervix and eight cervical tumors. This preliminary study demonstrates that BOLD MRI of cervical cancer at 3T is feasible. However, more patients must be evaluated and followed clinically before any prognostic value can be determined.
- Cervical cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging