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The Metabolic Features of Normal Pancreas and Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma: Preliminary Result of In Vivo Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy at 3.0 T

Ma, Xiaohong MS*; Zhao, Xinming BS*; Ouyang, Han MS*; Sun, Fei MS; Zhang, Hongmei PhD*; Zhou, Chunwu BS*; Shen, Hao PhD

Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography: September-October 2011 - Volume 35 - Issue 5 - p 539-543
doi: 10.1097/RCT.0b013e318227a545
Abdominal Imaging

Objective: The objective of the study was to analyze the metabolic features and distribution of normal pancreas and pancreatic adenocarcinoma while determining the biomarker of pancreatic cancerous process.

Methods: Twenty-seven control and 29 pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients underwent breath-hold 3-T proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The ratios of lipid (lipid/InW), choline-containing compounds (CCCs/InW), and fatty acids (FAs/InW) to nonsaturated internal water (InW) of the normal pancreas head and body-tail region, with cancerous and noncancerous regions in pancreatic adenocarcinoma, were calculated.

Results: In normal pancreas, there were no statistical difference in the ratios of FAs to InW and lipid to InW of different regions, but CCCs/InW of body-tail area was greater than that of head (7.28 × 10−4 vs 3.23 × 10−4). In pancreatic cancer, FAs/InW and lipid/InW between cancerous and noncancerous region were different (3.44 × 10−4 vs 16.3 × 10−4 and 7.78 × 10−2 vs 36.3 × 10−2, respectively). Choline-containing compounds/InW in cancerous region was smaller than that in noncancerous region of pancreatic head cancer (1.62 × 10−4 vs 5.69 × 10−4) but similar to such region in body-tail cancer. Lipid/InW dropped in noncancerous regions (from 0.67 to 0.36), whereas there were no differences in FAs/InW and CCCs/InW between normal pancreas regions and noncancerous regions in pancreatic cancer.

Conclusions: In normal pancreas, CCCs of body-tail region was greater than that of head. Whereas in pancreatic adenocarcinoma, CCCs, FAs, and lipid were all decreased in cancerous region, lipid in the noncancerous region was also decreased compared with normal pancreas. Lipid may be the potential sensitive biomarker for pancreatic cancer.

From the *Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Peking Union Medical College, Beijing; †Shanghai Guided Medical Scientific Co Ltd, Shanghai; and ‡GE Healthcare, Chalfont St. Giles, UK.

Received for publication February 8, 2011; accepted June 3, 2011.

Reprints: Chunwu Zhou, Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical, Beijing, China (e-mail:;

This work was supported by National 11th Five-Year Plan (2007BAI05B05) and Beijing Hope Run Special Fund (LC2009B31).

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.