MRI techniques for immunotherapy monitoring.
MRI is a widely available clinical tool for cancer diagnosis and treatment monitoring. MRI provides excellent soft tissue imaging, using a wide range of contrast mechanisms, and can non-invasively detect tissue metabolites. These approaches can be used to distinguish cancer from normal tissues, to stratify tumor aggressiveness, and to identify changes within both the tumor and its microenvironment in response to therapy. In this review, the role of MRI in immunotherapy monitoring will be discussed and how it could be utilized in the future to address some of the unique clinical questions that arise from immunotherapy. For example, MRI could play a role in identifying pseudoprogression, mixed response, T cell infiltration, cell tracking, and some of the characteristic immune-related adverse events associated with these agents. The factors to be considered when developing MRI imaging biomarkers for immunotherapy will be reviewed. Finally, the advantages and limitations of each approach will be discussed, as well as the challenges for future clinical translation into routine clinical care. Given the increasing use of immunotherapy in a wide range of cancers and the ability of MRI to detect the microstructural and functional changes associated with successful response to immunotherapy, the technique has great potential for more widespread and routine use in the future for these applications.
Funder: CRUK Cambridge Centre