From the blog

MRIs vs CT Scans for Imaging Mesothelioma

Published: September 24, 2021

MRI scans could be better than CT scans for diagnosing and monitoring disease response in pleural mesothelioma patients. An Italian study is looking at the two imaging techniques to compare the effectiveness of each one and is publishing results in the online medical journal Cancers. Computed tomography scans (CT) are currently the most popular way to get images of pleural mesothelioma. Doctors can see the extent of the cancer spread and figure out if the treatment is working. Radiologists at Pisa University Hospital believe that MRI imaging could have benefits that CT scans do not have when looking at mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a deadly and serious cancer that is linked to asbestos exposure. Several small exposures to asbestos can lead to mesothelioma, but it is typically found in people exposed to large amounts of asbestos. CT and MRI scans are great ways to diagnose mesothelioma and other cancers because they are noninvasive ways to look at the entire body.  CT scans are the most common imaging technique, but MRIs can give doctors more information. This information allows doctors to use advanced computer-based diagnostic, staging, and prognostic tools.

CT scans utilize x-rays to create an image of a tumor. Multiple images are taken which are then combined by the computer to create a 3-D image of the tumor. MRIs on the other hand use powerful magnetic fields and radio waves, which help make a clearer and more detailed image. This can be very helpful when imaging mesothelioma tumors because they are flat and irregularly shaped. The clearer image allows computers to create more advanced images and evaluations of tumors. These imaging tools can help doctors with diagnosis, but they do not replace a biopsy where doctors look at tumor cells under a microscope.

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer, so finding new ways to diagnose and treat the disease is very important. Utilizing technology like CT scans and MRIs could help doctors diagnose mesothelioma noninvasively if the technology advances. Doctors could even find mesothelioma at an earlier stage when it is more treatable, allowing more patients to live longer than they would if their cancer was not caught early.

Chiara Romei, “New Updates of the Imaging Role in Diagnosis, Staging, and Response Treatment of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma” Cancers (July 27, 2021). [Link]


Contact Us
Have you received a diagnosis? *