Women's Health

New MRI Contrast Agent Can Tell Aggressive Breast Cancer From Other Types

This new agent proved helpful in showing the exact type of cancer

The researchers who assisted Zheng-Rong Lu were Zheng Han, Xiaohui Wu, Sarah Roelle, Chuheng Chen, and William P. Schiemann. The study was titled Targeted gadofullerene for sensitive magnetic resonance imaging and risk-stratification of breast cancer and was published in Nature Communications.

They not only synthesized the ZD2 and attached them to fullerene balls containing gadolinium ions but also tested the contrasting agent’s efficacy using mice.

Certain types of lab mice have breast cancers that develop and express themselves very similarly to human breast cancer. They used six of these types of mice.

For the aggressive, triple-negative cancers, they used MDA-MB-231, HS578T, and BT549 mice. For the less aggressive, ER-positive cancers, they used MCF-7, ZR-75-1, and T47D mice.

They found that the Gd3N@C80 was completely water soluble, which is important for ensuring that it can go everywhere in the human body it needs to go.

During imaging, high amounts of the contrasting agent were seen in the kidney and liver, which showed that those organs were doing their job of filtering and removing the contrasting agent.

In fact, no tissue accumulation was noted, which stands in stark contrast to some gadolinium-based contrast agents, which can remain in the body throughout multiple MRI scans.

The scans also showed that their peptide successfully attached the gadolinium ions to the breast cancer tumors.

In fact, their idea that the EDB-FN production would lead to more aggressive cancers to look brighter on the MRI was true.

The Gd3N@C80 molecules attached to the aggressive tumors and made them show up brightly on the MRI scan. They still attached to the less aggressive cancers but because of the lower amount of EDB-FN they were weaker on the MRI. Distinguishable over the rest of the body, but obviously not as strong as with the triple-negative mice.

Which means that Gd3N@C80 is a contrasting agent that not only detects breast cancer, but can also help doctors know which type of cancer they are dealing with.