The Pipeline

Why your interventional cardiologists may soon be key members of your cancer team


David Gaffin and Cameron Ferrey, Technology Insights

This is the second in a series of posts covering the latest clinical technology news from the 2014 Symposium on Clinical Interventional Oncology (CIO). Miss the first post? Read it now

Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS), an imaging modality used extensively in the fields of cardiology and interventional radiology, may also be useful as a highly accurate method for identifying vessel invasion in cancer.

This novel application of IVUS technology is proposed in the findings of a research study presented at CIO earlier this month, which details successful imaging applications on patients with suspected hepatic artery invasion resulting from cholangiocarcinoma and superior vena cava (SVC) syndrome, a side effect from non-small cell lung cancer.


Enhanced imaging accuracy comes at a cost

IVUS is typically used in follow-up to conventional angiography for cardiac patients to more accurately assess the extent of vascular narrowing. New research suggests that it may also be useful as a supplement to conventional CT imaging for cancer patients. 

By using IVUS for follow-up imaging after CT scans of tumors, researchers were able to determine that artery wall invasion had not occurred, contradicting the incorrect results of CT scans. 

Because IVUS offers better resolution of arterial layers than CT, it may be used to evaluate tumor invasion of the vascular system with far more accuracy and precision than conventional techniques, leading to fewer incorrect diagnoses.


Multi-disciplinary clinical applications could bolster demand

Despite the higher costs associated with IVUS compared to conventional angiographic imaging, clinical trials have proved the former more cost-effective for image guidance in coronary stenting procedures because higher initial procedural costs are offset by lower costs for subsequent lesion revascularization. 

If IVUS is also identified as a cost-effective option for oncologic imaging and interventional oncologic purposes, the higher accuracy and precision it offers over conventional CT imaging combined with its multi-disciplinary clinical applications would likely broaden its market appeal substantially.

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