By Wayne Forrest, staff writer
November 5, 2015

For several decades, MRI has been an imaging anchor in radiology departments and imaging centers around the world. Even after all this time, the modality still possesses a resiliency that makes it a solid foundation for groundbreaking research in a variety of clinical applications.

This installment of the Road to RSNA 2015 offers a preview to a plethora of studies that use different MRI techniques, as well as pair the modality with PET to further expand the technology's influence.

Scientific papers scheduled for presentation in Chicago include studies on the efficacy of diffusion-weighted MRI to assess kidney disease and as a way to help detect invasive ductal breast cancer. Diffusion-tensor MRI shows its prowess in helping to determine cognitive outcomes for concussed patients and to open a window on the detrimental effects that soccer players face by repetitively heading a ball.

More than five years have passed since the radiology community was first introduced to the combination of MRI and PET, and more than four years since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave its clearance for the hybrid modality. Since then, considerable time and effort have been expended to discover its potential benefits, with proponents quick to note that PET/MRI offers considerably less radiation exposure to patients than PET/CT.

At RSNA 2015, PET/MRI will be showcased as a diagnostic tool for pulmonary hypertension and multiple oncological applications that include skeletal diseases, lymphoma, breast cancer staging and diagnosis, and cervical cancer.

A myriad of poster presentations will highlight MRI, including its use for breast applications at the Learning Center in Hall D, beginning Sunday, November 29, through Thursday, December 3. The half-hour sessions begin at various times each day during the noon hour.

Early risers will get quite an education on the safety of gadolinium-based MRI contrast agents and the risk of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (Tuesday, December 1, 7:15 a.m.-8:15 a.m., SPSC30, Room E451A). This special session will feature presentations from Dr. Emanuel Kanal of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Dr. Martin Prince, PhD, of Weill Cornell Medicine/Columbia University.

Refresher courses in MRI also are available throughout the week, including Friday, if you can accommodate an extra day or two in Chicago. The schedule runs from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at various locations inside McCormick Place.

Of course, the best way to get a head start on your agenda for RSNA 2015 is by clicking here for a complete rundown on all the scheduled presentations, abstracts, posters, refresher courses, and educational forums.

But, first, peruse the list of the scientific papers below with comments from the presenters on how their findings could affect your radiology practice.

Scientific and Educational Presentations
MRI plus hysterosalpingography tops ultrasound for infertility
Sunday, November 29 | 11:55 a.m.-12:05 p.m. | SSA09-08 | Room E351
MRI combined with hysterosalpingography works better than ultrasound for evaluating female infertility, researchers from Argentina have found.
DTI-MRI helps determine cognitive outcomes for concussed patients
Monday, November 30 | 10:50 a.m.-11:00 a.m. | SSC08-03 | Room N226
In this talk, researchers will discuss how measuring radial diffusivity with diffusion-tensor MRI (DTI-MRI) could become a valuable biomarker for determining how well patients will recover from mild traumatic brain injury.
DTI-MRI opens window to effects of repetitive head trauma
Monday, November 30 | 11:00 a.m.-11:10 a.m. | SSC08-04 | Room N226
Using diffusion-tensor MRI (DTI-MRI), researchers have found significant changes in white-matter abnormalities that may indicate differences in brain microstructures between men and women and how they respond to repetitive head trauma.
Process analysis speeds up outpatient MRI service
Monday, November 30 | 12:45 p.m.-1:15 p.m. | QS111-ED-MOB2 | Lakeside Learning Center, QS Community, Station 2
In this poster presentation, a team from the University of California, San Diego will share how process analysis enabled patients to get their requested MRI appointments sooner.
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.
Review course: Today's stroke triage tools
Tuesday, December 1 | 8:30 a.m.-8:55 a.m. | RC305-01 | Room N230
How are today's neuroradiologists handling stroke triage? Perfusion CT and perfusion-weighted MRI can assess for ischemic stroke, hemorrhage, vasospasm, brain tumors, seizures, and traumatic brain injury. But not everything is appropriate for every case, according to Dr. Max Wintermark from Stanford University.
Study tests synthetic MRI software on multiple sclerosis patients
Tuesday, December 1 | 10:50 a.m. -11:00 a.m. | SSG13-03 | Room N227
Researchers from Sweden have obtained promising results in their validation of an MRI software program designed to decrease scan time and improve quantitative measurements.
PET/MRI leads staging of invasive ductal breast cancer
Tuesday, December 1 | 11:00 a.m.-11:10 a.m. | SSG09-04 | Room S504CD
PET/MRI appears to lead the pack for the initial staging of invasive ductal breast cancer, thanks to the combined information provided by PET, diffusion-weighted MRI, and other MRI sequences.
New study evaluates ways to reduce PET/MRI scan time
Tuesday, December 1 | 11:00 a.m.-11:10 a.m. | SSG11-04 | Room S505AB
German researchers are investigating which MRI sequences are most effective for whole-body oncologic imaging to reduce PET/MRI scan time for patients.
FAST PET/MRI aids staging of lymphoma patients
Tuesday, December 1 | 11:10 a.m.-11:20 a.m. | SSG11-05 | Room S505AB
Adding a first postcontrast subtracted (FAST) MR imaging protocol to PET/MRI matches PET/CT for staging lymphoma patients, with only a slight increase in scan time, according to researchers from Germany.
FDG-PET/MRI bests DWI-MRI for lymphoma
Tuesday, December 1 | 11:20 a.m.-11:30 a.m. | SSG11-06 | Room S505AB
In another study led by Dr. Johannes Grueneisen from University Hospital Essen, researchers found that FDG-PET/MRI was better than diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI-MRI) alone for detecting malignant and benign lesions in lymphoma patients.
FDG-PET/MRI with DWI advances lymphoma diagnosis
Tuesday, December 1 | 11:30 a.m.-11:40 a.m. | SSG11-07 | Room S505AB
FDG-PET/MRI with diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) shows greater diagnostic value for lymphoma than FDG-PET/CT, while delivering less radiation, according to this study from the Medical University of Vienna.
FDG-PET/MRI enhances breast cancer diagnosis and staging
Tuesday, December 1 | 3:00 p.m.-3:10 p.m. | SSJ02-01 | Room E450A
Multiparameter FDG-PET/MRI can improve the specificity of dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI, which could lead to more-accurate staging of breast lesions and fewer false positives and unnecessary biopsies.
MR-ultrasound fusion boosts prostate biopsy performance
Tuesday, December 1 | 3:10 p.m.-3:20 p.m. | SSJ10-02 | Room E353C
Using MR-ultrasound fusion improves the performance of prostate biopsies when compared with random ultrasound-guided biopsies, according to this study to be presented on Tuesday afternoon.
3D MRI volumetry aids pulmonary hypertension diagnosis
Wednesday, December 2 | 11:00 a.m.-11:10 a.m. | SSK04-04 | Room S504AB
In this session, researchers will share their thoughts about using automated 3D MRI volumetry as a way to evaluate and possibly predict outcomes for patients with pulmonary hypertension.
DWI-MRI boosts kidney disease assessment
Wednesday, December 2 | 11:40 a.m.-11:50 a.m. | SSK08-08 | Room E450B
Due to its ability to assess estimated glomerular filtration rate noninvasively, diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI-MRI) may prove useful for monitoring kidney disease and stratifying patients based on contrast risk, a group from Poland reports.
DWI-MRI could help direct esophageal cancer treatment
Wednesday, December 2 | 3:20 p.m.-3:30 p.m. | SSM09-03 | Room E353B
A pilot study by Italian researchers is touting diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI-MRI) in the preoperative workup of esophageal cancer patients as a way to direct their treatment after initial staging.
PET/MRI with time-of-flight proves worthy in oncology study
Thursday, December 3 | 11:50 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | SSQ15-09 | Room S505AB
Swiss researchers are reporting early success in their endeavor to develop a PET/MRI technology that features a new PET detector and adds MRI time-of-flight capabilities.