The rising role of imaging in oncology

Imaging has a highly important role in oncology today and I strongly believe that close communication between radiologists and referring physicians, and their contribution in the multidisciplinary team is paramount to ensure the best treatment outcome for patients.Precision treatment requires precision diagnosis. Functional MRI, which combines information on tumour morphology with biology, gives us an insight into tumour heterogeneity in a non-invasive way. New molecular tracers create opportunities for further developments of theranostics, which pairs targeted imaging with treatment. Artificial intelligence opens up a new area of response evaluation to immuno- and systemic treatment that goes beyond response evaluation criteria in solid tumours (RECIST). I believe that it is beneficial for different disciplines to have a good understanding of each other’s expertise as this could help to concentrate efforts on solving diagnostic or treatment dilemmas. It is crucial for medical oncologists to share with radiologists the questions they have and the information they need from images. Conversely, radiologists need to share with medical oncologists how to interpret images and what the strengths and weaknesses of the imaging techniques are and the accuracy of interpretation so that the best treatment can be chosen.During my recent presidency of the European Society of Oncologic Imaging (ESOI), a collaboration with ESMO was initiated and I am pleased that now, three years after, we are seeing the fruits of this collaboration. Today sees ESOI’s third annual joint ESMO–ESOI session at the ESMO Congress 2019 (16.00 – 17.30 Gastrointestinal stromal tumours: Imaging and treatment, Valencia Auditorium [Hall 5]). I believe the education offered by ESMO and ESOI could further strengthen the interdisciplinary collaboration, enabling medical oncologists and radiologists to learn more about each other’s disciplines, ultimately leading to an improved quality of cancer care and better outcomes for the patient.

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