Increased interstitial fluid pressure in tumors can cause metastatic dissemination and treatment resistance. Study of interstitial fluid pressure has been challenging due to a lack of noninvasive imaging strategies. In a recent study, Hompland and colleagues from the Institute of Cancer Research at the Norwegian Radium Hospital in Oslo showed that interstitial fluid pressure can be measured by a noninvasive strategy using gadolinium diethylene-triamine penta-acetic acid (Gd-DTPA) as a contrast agent for dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI).
In mouse xenograft models of several types of human cancers, velocity of outward flow of a rim of Gd-DTPA high signal intensity in the tumor periphery was significantly correlated with interstitial fluid pressure. The primary tumors of mice with metastasis had higher DCE-MRI Gd-DTPA–measured fluid flow velocity and interstitial fluid pressure than the primary tumors of mice without metastasis.
These findings were confirmed in studies in patients with cervical cancer: DCE-MRI fluid flow velocity was significantly higher (P < .00001) in those with pelvic lymph node metastases compared with those without lymph node involvement.
The authors noted, “Together, these findings establish that Gd-DTPA-based DCE-MRI can noninvasively visualize tumor [interstitial fluid pressure], and they reveal the potential for v0 [fluid flow velocity] determined by this method to serve as a novel general biomarker of tumor aggressiveness.”
Hompland T, et al: Cancer Res 72:4899-4908, 2012.