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Eur J Radiol. 2005 Mar;53(3):506-13.

In vivo and ex vivo proton MR spectroscopy of primary and secondary melanoma.

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Institute for Magnetic Resonance Research, Department of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, University of Sydney, Block 3, Level 3, Royal North Shore Hospital, St. Leonards, NSW 2065, Australia.


In vivo magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy at 1.5T was performed on a large polypoid cutaneous melanoma, and two enlarged lymph nodes containing metastatic melanoma, from three patients. Spectra were acquired in vivo from voxels wholly within the primary tumour or secondary lymph node and were thus uncontaminated by signals from adjacent tissue. Tissue biopsies taken after resection of primary tumours and secondary lymph nodes were examined by 8.5T magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and the results compared with the in vivo spectra, and with spectra from normal skin and a benign skin lesion. There was good agreement between the dominant features of 1.5T spectra acquired in vivo and 8.5T spectra acquired from resected tissue. However, less intense resonances observed at 8.5T in malignant biopsy tissue were not consistently observed at 1.5T in vivo. In vivo spectra from primary and metastatic melanoma showed high levels of choline metabolites. An intense lactate resonance was also present in the in vivo spectrum of primary melanoma. All 8.5T spectra of biopsies from primary and secondary melanoma showed high levels of choline metabolites and lactate, and additional resonances consistent with elevated levels of taurine, alanine, lysine, and glutamate/glutamine relative to normal and benign tissue. Elevated levels of choline, lactate, taurine, and amino acids appear to be clinically useful markers for identifying the pathology of primary and metastatic melanoma.

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