Brain tumors are serious and, unfortunately, still lethal conditions, which affect on average 28 out of 100,000 individuals every year. In Italy alone, there are 6,000 new patients with central nervous system tumors annually.

Thanks to continuous collaboration among researchers and neuroradiologists, the development of new technologies does not stop at Humanitas, aiming to find new solutions to improve the clinical path and the outcomes for patients affected by these conditions.

In October 2020, Humanitas specialists published a study in Scientific Reports focusing on just that, presenting new magnetic resonance techniques able to better identify the main ways of cancer diffusion, beyond the macroscopic limits that are normally visible on an MRI.

We talked about it to Professor Letterio Politi, Head of the Diagnostic, Interventional and Functional Neuroradiology Unit at Humanitas.

The value of the study

“The total removal of the brain tumor is the best therapeutic option at this time, because it guarantees a higher chance of survival, compared to the available drugs, including those of the latest generation. However, brain tumors, particularly the more severe ones, often extend beyond the margins of the lesion shown by conventional MRI techniques. With this translational laboratory study, we can validate new techniques for more accurate identification of the extent of the tumor, therefore providing the neurosurgeons with important information so that they can perform an intervention that can be as radical as possible.

The objective of the study, thus, is to find a suitable method of identifying the actual extent of the tumor, in addition to what we can already see with normal magnetic resonance sequencing,” explains the specialist.

“The next phase, in the months to come, will involve testing these new resonance techniques during surgery on select patients, evaluating tumor diffusion in areas that appear normal on traditional sequences. The new magnetic resonance techniques will allow us to identify microstructural changes, analyze the ways of tumor dissemination and help neurosurgeons to achieve the most complete tumor removal possible,” concludes Professor Politi.