Rationale and objectives: To compare the diagnostic efficacy of a standard dose of MRI contrast agent in the evaluation of primary brain tumors and metastases using a high-field 3 tesla MR unit versus a 1.5 tesla MR unit.
Methods: Sixteen patients with brain tumors were examined at both field strengths using identical axial T1-SE protocols pre- and postcontrast (0.1 mmol/kg gadolinium), and postcontrast coronal 3D GRE with magnetization preparation (MP-RAGE), which was adjusted separately for each field strength. Evaluation of the images was performed quantitatively and, in the case of T1-SE images, also by visual assessment.
Results: Tumor-to-brain-contrast after gadolinium administration using statistical evaluation of MP-RAGE scans was significantly higher at 3 tesla (97.5) than at 1.5 tesla (46.3). The same was true for T1-SE sequences (93.0 vs. 72.1). Signal enhancement of the lesions in T1-SE sequences was not significantly different between both field strengths.
Conclusions: Administration of a gadolinium contrast agent produces higher contrast between tumor and normal brain at 3 tesla than at 1.5 tesla.