The IMWG team recommends that this more sophisticated technique and others; including PET-CT (positron emission tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) be introducing generally into clinical practices; newer imaging techniques are upgrading detection of the disease; leading to earlier treatment by new multiple myeloma imaging guidelines.
The guidelines are basing in part on an examination of results of computed tomography (CT) and X-ray imaging from several countries. The team found that using only conventional X-ray missing 25% of instances where patients have bone destruction already and need treatment. Hillengass and a team of two experts developing the guidelines; which were then reviewed by the entire working group.
Myeloma imaging guidelines
The major change in the new imaging guidelines is that whole body low dose CT replaces conventional skeletal survey as the standard imaging technique recommended for assessing bone destruction; These practices are already employing in the clinical care of myeloma patients at Roswell Park; and a team at the cancer center is conducting a clinical trial to explore what CT guided biopsies of focal lesions may reveal about the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of this disease.
Dr. Hillengass hopes that broader application of these newer techniques will lead to more refined imaging, more accurate diagnoses, earlier treatments and more patients living longer due to lasting remissions. There’s a lot of research underway now exploring whether incorporating more specific traces or dyes into various imaging techniques will be beneficial, and also to figure out how we can assess minimal residual disease, or very low tumor burdens after treatment.
Therefore, study need much higher sensitivity and also functional information that cutting edge imagery can provide. There are important questions still to be asking as these technologies evolve; The International Myeloma Foundation formed the IMWG in 2001 to encourage dialogue and collaboration among the world’s leading myeloma experts.
The group includes 243 members from 39 countries who collaboratively conduct research to improve outcomes of the disease; and provide scientifically valid consensus opinions regarding its diagnosis and treatment. Just as newer drugs have significantly improved outcomes for patients with multiple myeloma in the past decade; newer imaging techniques are upgrading detection of the disease; leading to earlier treatment.