We applied 1H-decoupling and nuclear Overhauser enhancement to obtain well-resolved 31P magnetic resonance spectra accurately localized to 20 soft tissue sarcomas in vivo, using three-dimensional chemical shift imaging. Fifteen spectra had large phosphomonoester signals (21% of total phosphorus) that contained high amounts of phosphoethanolamine (compared to those of phosphocholine) but no signals from glycerophosphoethanolamine, and glycerophosphocholine was detected in only four cases. Prominent nucleoside triphosphates (52% of phosphorus) and low inorganic phosphate (10% of phosphorus) indicated that a large fraction of these 15 sarcomas contained viable cells, and this impression was confirmed histologically in 13 of the sarcomas. High-resolution in vitro31P spectra of extracts of surgical specimens of four of the sarcomas studied in vivo and six additional sarcomas confirmed the in vivo assignments of metabolites and revealed considerable inter- and intratumoral variations of metabolite concentrations associated with histological variations in the relative amounts of cells and of matrix materials or spontaneous necrosis. Seven sarcomas, all high grade with pleomorphic or round cells rather than spindle cells, contained an unidentified phosphodiester signal in vivo; its absence in the extract spectra indicates that it may be from an abnormally mobile membrane component. We have documented a means to obtain new information about in vivo metabolism in human sarcomas and to provide a basis on which to examine the uses of 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the clinical management of sarcomas.

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Supported by NIH Grants CA56960, CA54339, and CA41078 and by Siemens Medical Systems (Iselin, NJ).

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