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Imaging in pleural mesothelioma: a review of the 11th International Conference of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group.

Imaging of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is essential to the diagnosis, assessment, and monitoring of this disease. The complex morphology and growth pattern of MPM, however, create unique challenges for image acquisition and interpretation. These challenges have captured the attention of investigators around the world, some of whom presented their work at the 2012 International Conference of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group (iMig 2012) in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, September 2012. The measurement of tumor thickness on computed tomography (CT) scans is the current standard of care in the assessment of MPM tumor response to therapy; in this context, variability among observers in the measurement task and in the tumor response classification categories derived from such measurements was reported. Alternate CT-based tumor response criteria, specifically direct measurement of tumor volume change and change in lung volume as a surrogate for tumor response, were presented. Dynamic contrast-enhanced CT has a role in other settings, but investigation into its potential use for imaging mesothelioma tumor perfusion only recently has been initiated. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron-emission tomography (PET) are important imaging modalities in MPM and complement the information provided by CT. The pointillism sign in diffusion-weighted MRI was reported as a potential parameter for the classification of pleural lesions as benign or malignant, and PET parameters that measure tumor activity and functional tumor volume were presented as indicators of patient prognosis. Also reported was the use of PET/CT in the management of patients who undergo high-dose radiation therapy. Imaging for MPM impacts everything from initial patient diagnosis to the outcomes of clinical trials; iMig 2012 captured this broad range of imaging applications as investigators exploit technology and implement multidisciplinary approaches toward the benefit of MPM patients.

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