MR imaging in radiation therapy workflow
UMC Utrecht has deeply integrated MR into their clinical practice, using three Philips MR scanners for treatment planning. Every year, more than 1,300 patients undergo MR imaging for a variety of anatomies, such as the pelvis (including bladder, prostate, rectum and cervix), the brain, the esophagus, pancreas, the larynx and oropharynx, bone metastases and sarcomas. In addition, around 200 patients receive MR-guided brachytherapy in the prostate and cervix. UMC Utrecht developed and implemented dedicated imaging strategies for each anatomy to meet the different treatment planning requirements for MR.
For prostate, Dr. Philippens explains that all patients undergo an MRI exam – along with CT – before radiotherapy of the prostate to visualize the prostate and surrounding organs. “In addition to helping delineation of the prostate, MRI also helps in visualizing the lesions inside the prostate, which may not be possible in CT. When we can visualize intraprostatic lesions, the radiation therapist can then plan to boost them, giving a higher dose to those lesions instead of giving a uniform dose to the whole prostate, in the hope to better treat the patient and have less risk of recurrent tumors. However, this is not yet clinical routine.”