Real time habitat guided multimodal fusion biopsies

This technique is currently being developed in Ovarian cancer.

Real time habitat guided multimodal fusion biopsies as part of ICM

In collaboration with Canon® Medical Systems, the group has recently developed and is currently piloting a new ultrasound-guided fusion biopsy technique which allows for selective tissue sampling of tumour areas with distinct or similar radiomic/texture characteristics. The group has achieved to overlay texture-based clustering maps onto diagnostic CT images and PET/MRI habitat maps onto MRI images, respectively and then fuse them with the US during biopsies. This technique will enable biological profiling and longitudinal tracking of tumour habitats in the clinical settings.

Martin-Gonzalez, P. et al., Integrative radiogenomics for virtual biopsy and treatment monitoring in ovarian cancer. Insights into Imaging, 17 Aug 2020.

In this review, we describe how these challenges might be overcome by integrating quantitative features extracted from medical imaging with the analysis of paired genomic profiles, a combined approach called radiogenomics, to generate virtual biopsies. Radiomic studies have been used to model different imaging phenotypes, and some radiomic signatures have been associated with paired molecular profiles to monitor spatiotemporal changes in the heterogeneity of tumours. We describe different strategies to integrate radiogenomic information in a global and local manner, the latter by targeted sampling of tumour habitats, defined as regions with distinct radiomic phenotypes.

Further information on the real time habitat guided multimodal fusion biopsies in Ovarian cancer project.

Beer, L., Martin-Gonzalez, P. et al., Ultrasound-guided targeted biopsies of CT-based radiomic tumour habitats: technical development and initial experience in metastatic ovarian cancer, European Radiology, 14 Dec 2020.

This article highlights a new advanced computing technique using routine medical scans to enable doctors to take fewer, more accurate tumour biopsies. This is an important step towards precision tissue sampling for cancer patients to help select the best treatment. In future the technique could even replace clinical biopsies with ‘virtual biopsies’, sparing patients invasive procedures.

The research shows that combining computed tomography (CT) scans with ultrasound images creates a visual guide for doctors to ensure they sample the full complexity of a tumour with fewer targeted biopsies. Capturing the patchwork of different types of cancer cell within a tumour – known as tumour heterogeneity – is critical for selecting the best treatment because genetically-different cells may respond differently to treatment.

To read the full press release on the CRUK Cambridge Centre website, click here.

Coverage for this article in the Daily Mail.


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The Mark Foundation Institute for Integrated Cancer Medicine (MFICM) at the University of Cambridge aims to revolutionise cancer care by affecting patients along their treatment pathway.

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