New report on the potential of MRI in radiation therapy

A new report from the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SMM) states that the implementation of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in modern radiotherapy holds great promise for the future. There are many functional MR-methods available and their working potential is immense. 

The report “MR in radiotherapy – an important step towards personalised treatment?” is authored by SSM’s scientific council on ionizing radiation within oncology.

Describes the use of MRI

Imaging is important for radiotherapy and the development of new imaging modalities is closely linked to the evolution of modern radiotherapy. The implementation of MRI in modern radiotherapy holds great promise for the future but the scientific council emphasizes that it must be carefully monitored in order to minimize the introduction of new risks, violating patient safety.

This report describes the use of MRI in the radiotherapy process from patient selection to follow-up and discusses possibilities and difficulties related to the introduction of MRI.

The report states that many functional MR-methods are available and if the effort to bring these methods into robust and validated biomarkers is taken in the imaging community, their working potential is immense.

Radiotherapy on an individual level

It is the view of this scientific council that MRI in radiotherapy is a new and promising area of clinical development that aims to further optimise the radiotherapy on an individual level. For exploiting the potential benefits more research is needed in conjunction with development of competence.

In the present report the scientific council have reviewed the field and identified several aspects that should be addressed with a high priority:

1. The standardisation of imaging procedures and quality assurance processes of MRI for radiotherapy is needed for safe introduction of MRI in radiotherapy.

2. Comprehensive research efforts are needed for the exploring and validating of multi-parametric imaging data for personalised radiotherapy.

In conclusion: Following the roadmap outlined in the report, a successful implementation of advanced MRI methods in radiotherapy will be possible and result in a step towards personalised radiotherapy.

SSM’s scientific council on ionizing radiation within oncology: Björn Zackrisson (chairman), Crister Ceberg, Anna Bäck, Lennart Blomqvist, Mikael Johansson, Gunilla Enblad, Gunilla Frykholm och Lars E Olsson.

Read more about the testbed sub-projects concerning MRI: MRI-based radiotherapy and Quality assurance for MRI-based radiotherapy