Increased utilization of cross-sectional imaging has resulted in increased detection of incidental renal tumors. The noninvasive characterization of renal tissue has important implications for the diagnosis of renal malignancies and treatment monitoring. Recently, multiple breath-hold averaged proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) performed at high field has enabled the use of this noninvasive metabolic profiling technique for the investigation of the abdomen. Multiple breath-hold averaged 1H-MRS at high field (3T) was obtained in the kidneys of 10 healthy volunteers and in renal cell carcinoma tumors of 14 patients. The spectra of normal kidneys showed four main groups of resonances: 1) at 5.4-5.6 ppm, attributed to C6 of cholesterol and the unsaturated parts of the olefinic region of fatty acids; 2) at 4.7 ppm, attributed to the residual water signal; 3) at 3.2 ppm, attributed to trimethylamine moiety of choline metabolites; and 4) at 1.3 and 0.9 ppm, attributed to the methylenes and terminal methyls of lipids. The ratio of the signal at 5.4 ppm to that of 1.3 ppm was 19-fold lower in renal cell carcinomas than in healthy kidneys, tied P = 0.0003 Mann-Whitney U-test, suggesting a decrease in both free cholesterol and the degree of unsaturation of fatty acids in the malignant tissue. This metabolic shift is in agreement with previous ex vivo studies of human renal cell carcinoma. The ability to detect renal metabolic shifts noninvasively may improve the specificity of preoperative renal tissue characterization and may provide a new modality for treatment monitoring.
- Clinical study
- Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy
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