Objectives: To review the use of magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) as a clinical tool in the identification of cerebral neoplasia type and grade, as well as neoplasia in the prostate, colon, breast, cervix, pancreas, and esophagus. Also, to review how clinicians are using MRS for surgical planning and longitudinal evaluation of tumors after treatment.
Data Sources: Studies and clinical case reports published within the previous 10 years, targeting publications in radiology and oncology journals within the previous 3 years. Sources identified via MEDLINE and PubMed databases.
Study Selection: Studies that contrasted MRS with conventional diagnostic and prognostic methods were considered to yield the most relevant data for this review. Studies discussing cancer staging and grading were also examined to help determine clinical significance of MRS.
Data Syntheses: A review of the literature reveals that, although MRS has mainly been used in diagnostics and tumor evaluation for brain cancer, it is becoming an increasingly important adjunct to conventional diagnostic and monitoring procedures for cancer of the prostate, colon, breast, cervix, pancreas, and esophagus.
Conclusions: The clinical usefulness of MRS has yet to be fully substantiated. As MRS availability and access increases, appropriate evaluations of its strengths and weaknesses will be made. The authors conclude that research to date and primary observation indicate that MRS is a promising clinical tool for oncologic management of patients.