Tumor response assessment currently relies upon measurement of size change, which may not alter significantly early during treatment or at all with newer therapies. Patients may therefore incur significant side-effects (with associated healthcare cost) without benefit. Assessment of soft tissue tumor T1 relaxation times before and early during treatment can predict lesion response whilst being incorporated within a clinically feasible whole-body MRI scan duration. Tumors undergoing partial response at the end of treatment demonstrated significant reduction in T1 values early during therapy compared to non-responding lesions.
In the future, this could facilitate early response assessment and complement other imaging biomarkers.