New applications of magnetic resonance imaging for thoracic oncology

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Since the clinical introduction of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the chest has been one of its most challenging applications, and since the 1980s many physicists and radiologists have been trying to evaluate images for various lung diseases as well as mediastinal and pleural diseases. However, thoracic MRI could not yield image quality sufficient for a convincing diagnosis within an acceptable examination time, so MRI did not find acceptance as a substitute for computed tomography (CT) and other modalities. Until the 2000, thoracic MRI was generally used only for select, minor clinical indications. Within the past decade, however, technical advances in sequencing, scanners and coils, adaptation of parallel imaging techniques, utilization of contrast media, and development of postprocessing tools have been developed. In addition, pulmonary functional MRI has been extensively researched, and MR is being assessed as a new research and diagnostic tool for pulmonary diseases. State-of-the art thoracic MRI now has the potential as a substitute for traditional imaging techniques and/or to play a complimentary role in patient management. In this review, we focus on these advances in MRI for thoracic oncologic imaging, especially for pulmonary nodule assessment, lung cancer staging, mediastinal tumor diagnosis and malignant mesothelioma evaluation, prediction of postoperative lung function, and prediction or evaluation of therapeutic effectiveness. We also discuss the potential and limitations of these advances for routine clinical practice in comparison with other modalities such as CT, positron emission tomography (PET), PET/CT, or nuclear medicine studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-40
Number of pages14
JournalSeminars in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 02-2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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