By Wayne Forrest, contributing writer
    November 8, 2012

    Welcome to the next installment of this year's Road to RSNA preview of the 98th annual RSNA meeting in Chicago. For the fourth year in a row, we're providing a modality-by-modality overview of the most important scientific sessions, poster presentations, and educational exhibits to serve as your guide to events at McCormick Place.

    In the realm of molecular imaging, PET/MRI undoubtedly will garner considerable attention, as the hybrid modality gains interest with each new study that exalts its clinical potential.

    On Monday morning, Dr. Alexander Drzezga from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital will deliver a keynote address on "MR PET -- Is It Ready for Prime Time?" (10:30 a.m.-10:40 a.m., SSC13, Room S505AB). Following his insights will be eight papers on PET/MRI, including research on juveniles with solid tumors.

    Attendees also can have an informative molecular imaging and/or nuclear medicine lunch hour with CME posters Sunday through Thursday. The sessions take place each day for one hour beginning at 12:15 p.m. (except Sunday's session, which starts at 12:30 p.m.) at the Lakeside Learning Center. Afternoon CME poster presentations also are scheduled each day for one hour at that venue beginning at 5:00 p.m.

    Road to RSNA 2012: Molecular Imaging Preview On Sunday, Dr. Homer Macapinlac from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and Ukihide Tateishi from the Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan, will co-host eight posters on various topics, ranging from FDG-PET/CT to evaluate cardiovascular surgery complications, the assessment of atherosclerotic carotid plaque and stability, and characteristics of patients with cardiac amyloidosis (LL-NMS-SU).

    At Monday's afternoon poster session (LL-NMS-MOPM), Dr. Andre Iagaru from Stanford University and Dr. Johannes Czernin from the University of California, Los Angeles will co-host seven posters, which feature how PET/MRI improves image quality in the presence of dental implants, and how PET/CT and contrast-enhanced CT could increase accuracy in detecting small cervical lymph nodes.

    Several refresher courses for nuclear medicine physicians also are on the schedule, including "PET Brain Imaging: Current and Emerging Applications and Emphasis on Dementia (Tuesday, 4:30 p.m.-6:00 pm, RC411, Room S505AB) and a minicourse on recording and reporting radiation dose in nuclear medicine (Tuesday, 4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m., RC423, Room E352).

    In the area of cardiac imaging, two refresher courses will be held on Thursday: "Advances in Cardiac Nuclear Imaging: SPECT/CT and PET/CT" will highlight cardiac radiology, CT, and nuclear medicine (8:30 a.m-10:00 a.m., RC611, S504CD), and the second will focus on cardiac PET (4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m., RC703, Room S404AB).

    Several multisession courses also are all available during RSNA 2012. On Thursday morning, "Essentials of Nuclear Medicine" will offer three topics: radiation exposure in nuclear medicine, renal scintigraphy, and updates in bone imaging (8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m., MSES51, Room S406B).

    Previews for several noteworthy molecular imaging and nuclear medicine scientific papers are summarized below. Be sure to follow throughout the conference for daily news on the research that will influence radiology for years to come.

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

    Scientific and Educational Presentations
    FDG-PET/CT beats conventional imaging for breast cancer staging
    Sunday, November 25 | 11:15 a.m.-11:25 a.m. | SSA18-04 | Room S505AB
    German researchers retrospectively compared the diagnostic accuracy of whole-body FDG-PET/CT for initial breast cancer staging with the accuracy of conventional imaging using several different modalities. They will present their findings in this Sunday presentation.
    PET/MRI offers diagnostic accuracy for lymph node staging
    Sunday, November 25 | 11:15 a.m.-11:25 a.m. | SSA12-04 | Room S504CD
    PET/MRI provides sufficient diagnostic accuracy for lymph node metastases detection, while diffusion-weighted MRI images are inaccurate for staging in head and neck cancer patients, according to researchers from the University of Düsseldorf.
    PET/CT helps with bone scans in staging breast cancer
    Sunday, November 25 | 11:45 a.m.-11:55 a.m. | SSA18-07 | Room S505AB
    PET/CT can provide sufficient information from bone scans for the staging or restaging of breast cancer, according to a retrospective study by researchers from University Hospital Mannheim.
    FDG-PET/CT predicts response to chemo in breast cancer patients
    Sunday, November 25 | 11:55 a.m.-12:05 p.m. | SSA18-08 | Room S505AB
    In this presentation, Japanese researchers will discuss the ability of FDG tumor uptake at baseline and after neoadjuvant chemotherapy to predict pathological complete response and disease-free survival after surgery.
    NaF-PET/CT detects more skeletal lesions in advanced breast cancer cases
    Monday, November 26 | 11:00 a.m.-11:10 a.m. | SSC09-04 | Room S504CD
    F-18 sodium fluoride (NaF) PET/CT detects more skeletal lesions than technetium-99m methylene diphosphonate SPECT in patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer, according to researchers from India.
    PET/MRI outshines PET/CT in lesion detection
    Monday, November 26 | 11:00 a.m.-11:10 a.m. | SSC13-04 | Room S505AB
    PET/MRI showed superior lesion detectability compared to contrast-enhanced PET/CT in this study from King Fahad Specialist Hospital in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. Based on the results, researchers concluded that PET/MRI may be useful for abdominal lesion staging while sparing patients from contrast media.
    Microbubble US helps early assessment of liver dysplasia
    Monday, November 26 | 11:30 a.m.-11:40 a.m. | SSC09-07 | Room S504CD
    In this presentation, German researchers will discuss their preliminary success with an ultrasound contrast agent -- known as BR55 -- that uses microbubbles targeting vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 to assess liver dysplasia.
    DOTATATE-PET/CT helps detect pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors
    Monday, November 26 | 11:50 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | SSC13-09 | Room 505AB
    In this retrospective study from University of Munich Hospital, researchers found that DOTATATE-PET/CT detects pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors better than MRI.
    Virtual FDG-PET/CT software shows hard-to-find malignancies
    Wednesday, November 28 | 10:30 a.m.-10:40 a.m. | SSK13-01 | Room S505AB
    Researchers from the University of Düsseldorf in Germany have developed virtual FDG-PET/CT panendoscopy software for the upper airways that they say can detect pharyngeal and laryngeal malignancies.
    FDG-PET/CT plays key role in treatment outcomes of prostate cancer
    Wednesday, November 28 | 11:00 a.m.-11:10 a.m. | SSK13-04 | Room S505AB
    A preliminary study by researchers at the University of Southern California suggests that FDG-PET/CT provides unique prognostic information on outcomes for men with castrate-sensitive metastatic prostate cancer who are undergoing various forms of hormonal treatment.
    FDG-PET/CT helps assess pancreatic cancer recurrence
    Wednesday, November 28 | 11:30 a.m.-11:40 a.m. | SSK13-07 | Room S505AB
    FDG-PET/CT has "excellent accuracy" in detecting a recurrence following resection of pancreatic cancer, and maximum standardized uptake values can be used in determining the prognosis of these patients, according to researchers from India.
    PET/MRI tops PET/CT in abdominopelvic lesion conspicuity
    Wednesday, November 28 | 11:50 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | SSK08-09 | Room S504CD
    PET/MRI with ultrafast gradient-recalled echo and spin-echo sequences is superior to PET/CT for lesion conspicuity, thus potentially improving therapy for patients with abdominopelvic cancer, according to a study by Swiss researchers.
    FDG-PET and MRI could find keys to Alzheimer's
    Thursday, November 29 | 11:30 a.m.-11:40 a.m. | SSQ14-07 | Room S504CD
    In this study, researchers from the University of Washington used MRI, including diffusion-tensor imaging, and FDG-PET to discover different correlations across imaging biomarkers and brain regions in patients with cognitive impairment.