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2015 Joana Caldas Magalhaes

Validation of Imaging with Pathology In Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancer

Radiotherapy cancer treatment uses ionizing radiation to destroy malignant cells. However, radiation also affects healthy tissue surrounding the tumor, which may cause unwanted side effects that can severely impact the quality of life of cancer patients. The aim of radiotherapy is to destroy malignant cells, while minimizing damage to healthy normal tissues.

To successfully deliver the radiation dose to the tumor while reducing the dose to the surrounding healthy tissues, it is necessary that the tumor is accurately defined. Three-dimensional medical imaging techniques are an essential tool for tumor delineation. In head-and-neck radiotherapy, tumor delineation is most frequently performed using computed-tomography. The visibility of the tumor can be improved with the additional information provided by other imaging techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography. However, in head-and-neck cancer, the precision of tumor delineation is still low and one of the largest sources of uncertainty. This suggests that there is still need for better interpretation of imaging.

Pathology is considered the gold standard for interpreting and validating imaging techniques. To validate imaging techniques with pathology, imaging scans performed before surgery should be compared with pathology data obtained from the resected surgical specimen.

The aim of this thesis is to validate advanced imaging techniques with pathology for tumor delineation and characterization in laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer radiotherapy.

 

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