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Whole Body MRI for Detection of Cancer Metastases

Open (Enrolling)
Breast Cancer

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Trial Information

Whole Body MRI for Detection of Cancer Metastases

Researchers would like to find out if a new whole-body MRI technique is able to find cancer
metastases better than a whole-body bone scan, which is the current standard of care.

Screening Tests:

Before you can start treatment on this study, you will have "screening questions" to help
the doctor decide if you are eligible to take part in this study. You will be asked to
complete some questionnaires to find out if there is any reason why you would not be able to
receive an MRI scan. The questionnaires will cover topics such as whether you have a
pacemaker and what medications you may be taking. It should take about 10-15 minutes to
complete the questionnaires.

You will also have either a bone scan or positron emission tomography / computed tomography
(PET/CT) during the screening period to check if the disease has spread to your bones. A
bone scan is a picture that is taken, after a radioactive substance is injected into your
bloodstream, allowing your doctor to see any abnormal areas of the bone. A PET/CT scan is a
type of x-ray scan that uses an injected chemical to help the doctor "see" the image more
clearly. For up to 6 hours before the PET/CT scan, you must not eat or drink anything
except water. A small tube will be placed in your arm, and you will receive an injection of
a very small amount of a mildly radioactive sugar material into your bloodstream. The
radioactive nature of this injected material allows the scanner to "see" it in certain
places in your body. After the injection, you will need to rest quietly until it is time
for the scan. The amount of rest time may vary, but be prepared to wait for between 45 and
90 minutes. During the scan, you will lie flat on your back on a table. The scan itself
may last up to 1 hour.

Study Procedures:

If you are found to be eligible and you agree to take part in this study, you will be
scanned using a whole-body MRI, with and without a "contrast agent" (a chemical substance
injected in your blood stream to help the scanner "see" your blood vessels better). This
will be performed after you receive the bone scan as the standard of care scan.

MRI uses a large magnet instead of x-rays to take pictures of the inside of your body.
People who have metal in their bodies (pacemakers, neurostimulators, certain clips, or
staples from earlier surgery) may not receive an MRI. The magnetic field used in MRI
scanning may harm such people or cause problems with devices such as pacemakers.

During the MRI procedure, part or all of the body will be passed into a long, narrow tube
scanner, which is open at both ends. The scanner has an intercom, which will allow you to
speak to the doctors and staff during the procedure. The machine will produce a loud
knocking noise. This is normal. You will be given earplugs to protect your ears. The MRI
will also require a line to be inserted into one of your veins to inject the contrast agent.
Healthy volunteers participating in this study will not have the contrast agent injected
during the scan.

Depending on how tall you are, imaging of your entire body will be achieved by the time you
have been scanned at 5 or 6 different table positions. The table you are on for the
scanning will be moved without having to reposition you. All images will be taken within a
total scan time of about 1 hour.

The MRI findings will be compared with the bone scan that you received before the MRI. This
comparison will help researchers to find out how well the MRI was able to "see" cancer

Study Length:

After the whole-body MRI, your participation in this study will be over.

This is an investigational study. All MRI scans will be performed on a commercially
available GE Signa scanner (GE Healthcare, Milwaukee, WI). All the imaging techniques used
will be done according to FDA MRI safety guidelines. Up to 35 patients and 5 healthy
volunteers will take part in the study. All will be enrolled at M. D. Anderson.

Inclusion Criteria:

1. Breast cancer patients with high suspicion or confirmed bone metastases.

2. Patient who have undergone a clinically indicated skeletal scintigraphy within two
weeks of the MRI exam.

3. Patients who have signed their informed consent form to undergo the study.

Exclusion Criteria:

1) Contraindication to conventional MR imaging (e.g. metal implants, pace maker, etc.).

Type of Study:


Study Design:

Observational Model: Case-Only, Time Perspective: Prospective

Outcome Measure:

Develop and evaluate a whole body MRI technique for detecting cancer metastases.

Outcome Time Frame:

3 Years

Safety Issue:


Principal Investigator

Jingfei Ma, PhD

Investigator Role:

Principal Investigator

Investigator Affiliation:

M.D. Anderson Cancer Center


United States: Institutional Review Board

Study ID:




Start Date:

December 2007

Completion Date:

Related Keywords:

  • Breast Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Whole Body MRI
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Metastases
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Neoplasm Metastasis



UT MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, Texas  77030