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In vivo proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy of breast cancer: a review of the literature

Jonathan KP Begley1, Thomas W Redpath2, Patrick J Bolan3 and Fiona J Gilbert4*

Author Affiliations

1 School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, Scotland, UK

2 Aberdeen Biomedical Imaging Centre, Medical School, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, Scotland, UK

3 Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, Department of Radiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA

4 University of Cambridge, Radiology Department, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK

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Breast Cancer Research 2012, 14:207  doi:10.1186/bcr3132

Published: 19 April 2012


An emerging clinical modality called proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS) enables the non-invasive in vivo assessment of tissue metabolism and is demonstrating applications in improving the specificity of MR breast lesion diagnosis and monitoring tumour responsiveness to neoadjuvant chemotherapies. Variations in the concentration of choline-based cellular metabolites, detectable with 1H-MRS, have shown an association with malignant transformation of tissue in in vivo and in vitro studies. 1H-MRS exists as an adjunct to the current routine clinical breast MR examination. This review serves as an introduction to the field of breast 1H-MRS, discusses modern high-field strength and quantitative approaches and technical considerations, and reviews the literature with respect to the application of 1H-MRS for breast cancer.