This literature review assesses the clinical potential of proton (1H) magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) of breast lesions. We here illustrate the basic principles of spectrum acquisition for volumes of interest, determined on the basis of dynamic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and of MRS postprocessing. We discuss the criteria for interpreting the spectrum with particular reference to the metabolic significance of the peak of total choline containing compounds at 3.2 ppm, a marker that is correlated with malignancy. We then summarise the findings obtained in lesion characterisation (with a possible gain in specificity with respect to dynamic MRI), the assessment of the effects of neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and the correlation reported at high field between the tumour tissue concentration of choline-containing compounds and the presence of lymph node metastases. Lastly, we outline the clinical use of this technique as the final phase of a complete breast MR examination after intravenous administration of paramagnetic contrast material for the dynamic study, with reference to its use by radiologists dedicated to breast imaging.
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© 2008 Published by Elsevier Inc.