By Eric Barnes, staff writer
November 10, 2015

RSNA 2015 is the culmination of a year of progress in advanced visualization, 3D, and computer-aided detection (CAD) technologies that shine a light on tasks that radiologists can now perform better, faster, and often more cheaply. Considering the economic and diagnostic realities that the specialty faces today, it is an urgent task.

The meeting opens with RSNA President Ronald Arenson from the University of California, San Francisco discussing radiology's future and why radiologists must, like the intrepid Star Trek Enterprise crew, go there boldly. Arenson will examine everything from artificial intelligence to sophisticated data mining to dramatic improvements in image quality.

Later in the week, and perhaps closer to earth, Dr. Adam Flanders from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia will examine an array of available advanced imaging technologies and show what each can offer the radiologist in a hurry.

In the head, Italian researchers will discuss how they are using advanced quantitative MRI techniques to map the brain and how various diseases affect it. Meanwhile, authors from Brown University in Providence, RI, will discuss their use of ultrasound CAD to find cases of craniosynostosis (premature fusion of skull bones) that normal prenatal ultrasound can miss -- improving newborns' chances of timely corrective surgery.

In brain cancer, advanced imaging shows that not all gliomas are alike. Investigators applied texture analysis to MRI-based images of glioma multiforme to predict survival in the fast-moving cancer, enabling individualized treatment.

Texture analysis was also tapped to distinguish between two uterine findings that can appear alike: atypical-appearing uterine leiomyomas and leiomyosarcomas, according to a study team from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Bone cancer, too, is meeting its match in advanced visualization. Japanese researchers applied a threshold-based algorithm to SPECT/CT images to detect "hot spots" that represent metastases.

In colorectal cancer screening with CT colonography (CTC), researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston and Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, have delivered two much-needed solutions.

In one study, the MGH team used a CAD scheme on supine-only CTC images without any help from a reader, delivering results that were equivalent to prone and supine imaging without CAD at half the dose. In another study, they developed an electronic cleansing algorithm that removes the colon contents from native CTC images with markedly less artifact than previous attempts.

Japanese researchers also are on the trail in colorectal cancer screening. They developed a gaze-tracking system that monitors where, and for how long, radiologists look for abnormalities on CT colonography images.

In the coronary arteries, Dutch researchers applied an automated coronary calcium scoring technique to an entire Canadian lung cancer screening population, effectively providing two screening tests for the price of one.

Also in cardiac imaging, functional and molecular aortic imaging are remaking care of not just the coronary arteries but the aorta, where evidence of inflammation and potential rupture can be seen years in advance, according to California researchers.

Finally, the burgeoning 3D printing industry, based almost entirely on CT and MR images, is on full display in this year's RSNA sessions.

The fun starts with an overview course by Dr. Frank Rybicki from the University of Ottawa Hospital, who overviews the many courses and scientific sessions devoted to 3D printing applications at the meeting. For the first time, the RSNA has a dedicated space in the Lakeside Center for a 3D printing exhibit, he said.

The volume of cardiovascular imaging applications is large and growing, according to Rybicki, who also leads a course devoted to the subspecialty. Among the beneficiaries are infants with congenital abnormalities and patients with valve disease, to name just two.

Among the dozens of scientific abstracts on 3D printing scheduled for RSNA 2015, one features a group that 3D prints its own customized quality control phantoms.

Another group from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston is devoted to improving breast reconstruction via 3D printing, which can address many problems that women face as the result of too many flawed surgeries.

To view RSNA's complete listing of abstracts for this year's scientific and educational program, click here.

Scientific and Educational Presentations
RSNA 2015 opens with spotlight on technology
Sunday, November 29 | 8:30 a.m.-10:15 a.m. | PS10C | Arie Crown Theater
RSNA President Dr. Ronald Arenson is opening this year's meeting with a talk on embracing technology -- its cost savings, its talent for diagnosis, and, last but not least, learning how to sell it.
Parametric quantitative MRI maps the brain
Sunday, November 29 | 10:45 a.m.-10:55 a.m. | SSA21-01 | Room S405AB
Italian investigators are breaking new ground in multiparametric quantitative MRI, using the technology to map brain tissues, and by doing so measure the changes wrought by disease.
MRI-based texture analysis predicts survival in glioma patient
Sunday, November 29 | 11:45 a.m.-11:55 a.m. | SSA18-07 | Room N229
In this session, investigators from Ohio will discuss their use of MRI-based texture analysis to predict survival in patients with aggressive brain tumors.
Fly-through 4D ultrasound boosts urinary bladder tumor detection
Sunday, November 29 | 12:05 p.m.-12:15 p.m. | SSA09-09 | Room E351
Investigators in Italy have completed their first study using a fly-through ultrasound cystoscopy technique to detect urinary bladder tumors.
3D CT with advanced iterative recon aids ablation procedures
Sunday, November 29 | 12:30 p.m.-1:00 p.m. | CA210-SD-SUA1 | Lakeside Learning Center, Station 1
In this study, Dr. Gianluca Pontone and colleagues from Centro Cardiologico Monzino in Milan compared two demographically similar groups using CT of the left atrium with first- and second-generation iterative reconstruction.
3D printing revolutionizes breast cancer management
Sunday, November 29 | 1:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. | IN104-ED-SUB8 | Lakeside Learning Center, Station 8
3D printing combined with volumetric analysis of breasts with 3D reconstruction is poised to completely reshape breast cancer care, according to this Sunday presentation.
CAD classifies benign, malignant thyroid nodules in 2D ultrasound
Sunday, November 29 | 1:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. | IN209-SD-SUB3 | Lakeside Learning Center, Station 3
A new computer-aided detection (CAD) algorithm can distinguish benign from malignant thyroid nodules using 2D ultrasound, according to this poster presentation by researchers from South Korea.
Prenatal craniosynostosis CAD finds what ultrasound misses
Monday, November 30 | 10:40 a.m.-10:50 a.m. | SSC06-02 | Room S402AB
A newly developed computer-aided detection (CAD) scheme can find cases of craniosynostosis -- the premature fusion of skull bones -- that normal prenatal ultrasound can miss, researchers from Brown University report.
3D-printed phantoms take shape for PET/MRI pelvic use
Monday, November 30 | 3:40 p.m.-3:50 p.m. | SSE21-05 | Room S403A
German researchers are close to finalizing the creation of 3D-printed phantoms that mimic the human pelvis for quality assurance, research, and performance measurements for both PET/MRI and PET/CT devices.
Electronic cleansing for CTC minimizes artifacts
Tuesday, December 1 | 10:30 a.m.-10:40 a.m. | SSG16-01 | Room S502AB
A Massachusetts General Hospital team will describe its development of an electronic cleansing scheme for CT colonography (CTC) images that minimizes the imaging artifacts that plague such algorithms.
Automated pancreatic segmentation could aid diabetes, cancer diagnosis
Tuesday, December 1 | 10:50 a.m.-11:00 a.m. | SSG16-03 | Room S502AB
In this session, researchers from the U.S. National Institutes of Health will discuss an automated pancreatic segmentation scheme that could help diagnose diabetes and pancreatic cancer.
Researchers model breast CT compression, deformation
Tuesday, December 1 | 11:30 a.m.-11:40 a.m. | SSG16-07 | Room S502AB
Researchers are working toward automated lesion segmentation in breast image analysis, but targeting breast compression and localization is the first step -- and the subject of this presentation from the University of Michigan.
Aortic imaging goes (way) beyond diameter measures
Tuesday, December 1 | 4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. | RC412A | Room S504AB
There's much more to aortic imaging than vessel diameter, according to a review course on aortic imaging that launches an advanced vascular imaging session on Tuesday.
3D printing technologies improve cardiovascular care
Tuesday, December 1 | 4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m. | RC412D | Room S504AB
This review course will provide an overview of the wide range of technologies and applications of 3D printing for cardiovascular care.
Automated 3D volumetry-based MRI reveals pulmonary hypertension
Wednesday, December 2 | 11:00 a.m.-11:10 a.m. | SSK04-04 | Room S504AB
3D automated volumetry of the heart with MRI can diagnose and exclude pulmonary hypertension noninvasively, according to researchers from the University of Heidelberg and three other institutions.
Supine-only CTC with CAD drops radiation dose
Wednesday, December 2 | 11:40 a.m.-11:50 a.m. | SSK06-08 | Room E351
Supine-only reading of CT colonography (CTC) data with computer-aided detection (CAD) could potentially enable single-position CTC exams, cutting both radiation dose and reading time in half, according to researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital.
Gaze-tracking system offers insight into image reading
Wednesday, December 2 | 11:50 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | SSK06-09 | Room E351
In this session, Japanese researchers will describe their development of a gaze-tracking system that monitors where -- and for how long -- radiologists look for abnormalities on CT colonography images.
Bone mets no match for hybrid 3D hot-spot analysis of PET/CT
Wednesday, December 2 | 12:45 p.m.-1:15 p.m.| NM223-SD-WEB11 | Room S503AB
A technique that identifies bone metastasis "hot spots" automatically from PET/CT could vastly improve radiologists' ability to diagnose and follow up patients with bone cancer.
So many advanced images, so little time
Thursday, December 3 | 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | RCC52C | Room S501ABC
This review course will survey the landscape of advanced imaging techniques and explain how different types of images are useful in different settings.
CAD automates calcium scoring in CT lung cancer screening
Thursday, December 3 | 11:00 a.m.-11:10 a.m. | SSQ20-04 | Room S404AB
In an international tour de force on computer-aided detection (CAD), Dutch researchers took an automated calcium scoring algorithm designed for a European lung cancer screening study and applied it to a Canadian screening study.
Liver volume at CT predicts outcome for liver disease
Thursday, December 3 | 11:20 a.m.-11:30 a.m. | SSQ06-06 | Room E350
A new study from France has found that liver volume at CT predicted clinical outcomes in patients with decompensated alcoholic steatohepatitis.
Texture analysis sorts out uterine findings at MRI
Thursday, December 3 | 11:50 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | SSQ10-09 | Room E450B
With the help of texture analysis, MRI can distinguish between two uterine findings that have traditionally been difficult to separate, a group from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center reports.
Breast density analysis IDs women needing more screening
Friday, December 4 | 11:30 a.m.-11:40 a.m. | SST01-07 | Room E450B
In this Friday session, Dutch investigators will present an automated way to identify women who most need supplemental breast cancer screening, based on breast density.