Clinical evaluation of uveal melanomas by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques depends on ascertaining how these tumors characteristically appear in NMR images and spectra. The authors have determined NMR characteristics of suspected uveal melanomas by phosphorus-31 (31P) NMR spectroscopy of freshly enucleated human eyes. Nuclear magnetic resonance examination was performed at 8.45 Tesla within 90 minutes after enucleation. Enucleated eyes were maintained at 4°C in tissue culture medium during the 30 minutes required for transport. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectra were obtained within 10 minutes, a clinically acceptable time, using a two-turn 31P surface coil. Spectral parameters included 10-kHz spectral width, 1024 data points, and 0.5-second recycle delay. Phosphorus-31 NMR spectroscopy allowed differentiation of choroidal melanomas from normal ocular structures. Differentiating features include significant peaks in tumor spectra due to the phosphodiesters glycerol 3-phosphoryl ethanolamine (GPE) and glycerol 3phosphorylcholine (GPC), and the phosphomonoesters phosphorylethanolamine (PE)and phosphorylcholine (PC). These preliminary data are encouraging and suggest that clinical trials at the lower magnetic field strengths available in NMR imaging systems seem feasible and warrant investigation.
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