Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy of small regions (1 mL) localized inside superficial human tumors. A clinical feasibility study

NMR Biomed. 1990 Oct;3(5):227-32. doi: 10.1002/nbm.1940030506.


It is demonstrated that the stimulated echo technique for proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) can be used to study metabolites in volumes of interest (VOIs) as small as 1 mL localized within superficial human tumors. Access to these small VOIs is important for characterization of tissue regions within a tumor, before, during and after treatment. Spectral appearance resembles that from studies on extracts, and cell suspensions and perfused cells of several tumor types. For the first time proton MRS was used to study cancer treatment in vivo in humans, for a case of radiation treatment of squamous cell carcinoma. No spectral evidence of changed metabolism prior to reduction in tumor size was found. However, after the first period of radiation (39 Gy, 4 weeks), complete disappearance of the metabolite resonances from the spectrum was observed, while a considerable mass still remained, suggesting effective cell destruction upon treatment. Needle aspiration cytology of this mass showed absence of malignant cells, supporting this result.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / chemistry*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / radiotherapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / secondary
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / secondary
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Protons


  • Protons