The ability of MRI to differentiate between normal and radioresistant cancer was investigated in prostate tumour xenografts in mice. Specifically, the process of magnetization exchange between water and other molecules was studied. It was found that magnetization transfer from semisolid macromolecules (MT) and chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) combined were significantly different between groups (p < 0.01). Further, the T 2 relaxation of the semisolid macromolecular pool (T 2,B), a parameter specific to MT, was found to be significantly different (p < 0.01). Also significantly different were the rNOE contributions associated with methine groups at -0.9 ppm with a saturation B 1 of 0.5 μT (p < 0.01) and with other aliphatic groups at -3.3 ppm with 0.5 and 2 μT (both p < 0.05). Independently, using a live-cell metabolic assay, normal cells were found to have a greater metabolic rate than radioresistant ones. Thus, MRI provides a novel, in vivo method to quantify the metabolic rate of tumours and predict their radiosensitivity.
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