Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in the Assessment of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC) Response

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OHSU Knight Cancer Institute




Head and Neck Cancer


Other: DCE-MRI, DW-MRI and MRS

Study type


Funder types



OHSU IRB00005554

Details and patient eligibility


The purpose of this study is to see if new techniques of measuring HNSCC tumors with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help predict how well the tumors will respond to combined chemotherapy and radiation treatment. The investigators hope to find a reliable method to determine whether or not a patient's cancer is responding to chemo-radiation early in their treatment using an MRI, such that that cancer treatments could be tailored to the individual more effective in the future. The MRI techniques include dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI), diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI), and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). Participants will be subjected to two sessions of MRI scans: one before the initiation of their regular treatment and the second before their second cycle of chemotherapy. Each scanning session will last approximately 45 minutes.

Full description

DCE-MRI, DW-MRI, MRS have the potential to measure early cellular changes that occur in response to successful therapies, such as chemoradiation, and have been demonstrated to be early predictors not only of therapeutic response, but also of overall survival for other malignancies. Our long-term goal is to use these imaging techniques to develop non-invasive functional imaging methodologies that would be better predictors of pathological response than the current clinical standard.


10 patients




18+ years old


Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • Histologically confirmed diagnosis of loco-regionally advanced (stage III or IV) squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (oropharynx, hypopharynx and larynx)
  • Age > 18 years
  • No prior surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy for head and neck cancer
  • Scheduled to receive chemoradiation for definitive therapy

Exclusion criteria

  • Contraindications to MRI (pacemaker, aneurysm clip, mechanical and/or electrical device or metallic fragment, severe claustrophobia)
  • Contraindications to gadolinium
  • Severe, active co-morbidity
  • Major medical illnesses or psychiatric impairments
  • Pregnant or nursing women

Trial contacts and locations



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