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Hyperpolarized Carbon-13 MRI in Breast Cancer.

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Brindle, Kevin M 


One of the hallmarks of cancer is metabolic reprogramming, including high levels of aerobic glycolysis (the Warburg effect). Pyruvate is a product of glucose metabolism, and 13C-MR imaging of the metabolism of hyperpolarized (HP) [1-13C]pyruvate (HP 13C-MRI) has been shown to be a potentially versatile tool for the clinical evaluation of tumor metabolism. Hyperpolarization of the 13C nuclear spin can increase the sensitivity of detection by 4-5 orders of magnitude. Therefore, following intravenous injection, the location of hyperpolarized 13C-labeled pyruvate in the body and its subsequent metabolism can be tracked using 13C-MRI. Hyperpolarized [13C]urea and [1,4-13C2]fumarate are also likely to translate to the clinic in the near future as tools for imaging tissue perfusion and post-treatment tumor cell death, respectively. For clinical breast imaging, HP 13C-MRI can be combined with 1H-MRI to address the need for detailed anatomical imaging combined with improved functional tumor phenotyping and very early identification of patients not responding to standard and novel neoadjuvant treatments. If the technical complexity of the hyperpolarization process and the relatively high associated costs can be reduced, then hyperpolarized 13C-MRI has the potential to become more widely available for large-scale clinical trials.


Peer reviewed: True

Funder: the CRUK Cambridge Center

Funder: the CRUK and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Cancer Imaging Center in Cambridge and Manchester


breast cancer, carbon-13, hyperpolarization, magnetic resonance imaging, metabolism

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Diagnostics (Basel)

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European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) (858149)
National Institute for Health and Care Research (IS-BRC-1215-20014)