Chris Li

Health Science, '18


The Assessment and Comparison of Ferumoxtran as Contrast Imaging Agent in Patients with Pancreatic Cancers.

Mentor: Mukesh Harisinghani, MD (MGH)

Radiation therapy can accelerate atherosclerotic changes, which can lead to serious and significant post-treatment complications for cancer patients. Arthrosclerosis is initially asymptomatic, eventually resulting in an acute onset of symptoms most commonly heart attack and death. It involves the buildup of inflamed plaques in artery walls, characterized by an increased macrophage presence in plaques. Iron oxide particles are able to be taken up from macrophages inside in aortic plaques, which points to their use as contrast agents and benefit as a non-invasive means of diagnosing arthrosclerosis {1]. We are investigating the use Supermagnetic Iron Oxide particle, Ferumoxtran, as an imaging agent for patients with pancreatic cancer. Using changes in T2* values, the amount of atherosclerotic changes in each patient cohorts can be compared. We will identify 3 cohorts of patients who had both pre and 24 hr post scans with Ferumoxtran as a contrast agent: patients without pancreatic cancer, patients with pancreatic cancer who have not received neo-adjuvant therapy, and patients who have pancreatic cancer and who have received neo-adjuvant therapy. The changes in T2* will be compared among each cohort and also to the values from a previous study done with another iron oxide agent Ferumoxytol. Cohorts of patients with specific malignancies also will be established, and the average T2* values of each cohort will be compared to see if there is a relationship between atherosclerotic progression and certain malignancies. Finally, T2* values of the suprarenal and infrarenal aorta will be compared to see if there is a significant difference in atherosclerotic changes between the two sections of the aorta. [1]Alam SR, Stirrat C, Richards J, Mirsadraee S, Semple SK, et. al. Vascular and plaque imaging with ultrasmall superparamagnetic particles of iron oxide. J Cardiovasc Magn Reson. 2015, 17(83): 10.1186/s12968-015-0183-4.

This left image is the abdominal aorta and the right image is a cross section image of the Suprarenal aorta (location signified by the dark black square surrounding the aorta). The right image shows the comparison of a normal aorta vs. an aorta with atherosclerotic changes. The blue particles are Ferumoxtran, which should conglomerate within the macrophages of plaques as shown in the cross section diagram to the right which can be detected by MRI. Source: