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Early detection of cancerous tumor resistance

on the September 28, 2015

Using the multiparametric MRI to identify the individual effects of each therapy during concomitant treatments


The "Functional neuroimaging and brain perfusion" research team led by Emmanuel Barbier recently determined the ability of a multiparametric MRI to possibly identify the individual therapy effects of simultaneously administered treatments in a glioma model. The results of their research have been published in the September 2015 issue of the scientific journal NMR in Biomedecine.

Some brain tumors, like glioblastomas, are so aggressive that they require complex therapeutic treatment regimens comprised of several simultaneous treatments. They are referred to as multi-therapy. Such protocols are being used increasingly. However, there is no tool or biomarker that can be used to non-invasively monitor the individual effects of each treatment. It is therefore not possible to determine at the moment, in the course of the treatment, the therapeutic benefit of adding chemotherapy to a radiotherapy protocol.

A recent study conducted by the "Functional neuroimaging and brain perfusion" team of the Grenoble Institute of Neuroscience (GIN) showed that synchrotron radiotherapy (MRT) causes brain tumors to stop growing five days after initiating treatment in rodents. In terms of size only, researchers did not notice any difference between animals treated with MRT and those treated with a double therapy (chemotherapy + MRT).

However, the multiparametric MRI has made it possible to see the effect of each of those therapies on the tumor (confirmed ex vivo), suggesting that it would be worth continuing the double therapy. Indeed, only animals which were given the double therapy presented significant changes in intratumoral miscrovasculature (blood volume, blood oxygenation and vascular permeability, see figure below).

As for the therapeutic application of this approach, regular monitoring using the multiparametric MRI would rapidly reveal the tumor resistance to one specific therapy among the other therapeutic regimens simultaneously administered to a patient, and would thus give the possibility to adapt the therapeutic regimen to each individual patient.


Although these animals show tumors of a similar size (outlined in red), ex vivo analyses (vascular network histology) and especially in vivo analyses with a multiparametric MRI (volume, oxygenation and vascular permeability) show that this type of glioma responds well to both therapies co-administered.

Lemasson and al. (2015). Multiparametric MRI as an early biomarker of individual therapy effects during concomitant treatment of brain tumours, NMR in Biomedicine, Volume 28, Issue 9, pages 1163–1173.

Updated on December 8, 2017

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