New algorithm for quantifying vascular changes in dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI independent of absoluteT1 values
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In this work, we present a new method for predicting changes in tumor vascularity using only one flip angle in dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) imaging. The usual DCE approach finds the tissue initial T1 value T1(0) prior to injection of a contrast agent. We propose finding changes in the tissue contrast agent uptake characteristics pre- and postdrug treatment by fixing T1(0). Using both simulations and imaging pre- and postadministration of caffeine, we find that the relative change (NR50) in the median of the cumulative distribution (R50) is almost independent of T1(0). Fixing T1(0) leads to a concentration curve c(t) more robust to the presence of noise than calculating T1(0). Consequently, the NR50 for the tumor remains roughly the same as the ideal NR50 when T1(0) is exactly known. Further, variations in eating habits are shown to create significant changes in the R50 response for both liver and muscle. In conclusion, analyzing data with fixed T1(0) leads to a more stable measure of changes in NR50 and does not require knowledge of T1(0). Both caffeine and eating introduce major changes in blood flow that can significantly modify the NR50 and lead to incorrect conclusions regarding drug treatment.
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