Perfusion MR imaging: basic principles and clinical applications

Magn Reson Imaging Clin N Am. 2003 Aug;11(3):403-13. doi: 10.1016/s1064-9689(03)00066-7.


Dynamic contrast-enhanced perfusion MR imaging provides hemodynamic information that complements traditional structural imaging and is increasingly used in clinical practice to diagnose, manage, and understand brain tumors. Relative cerebral blood volume maps derived from perfusion MR imaging data provide quantifiable estimates of regional blood volume that can be used to grade gliomas, differentiate different brain tumor types, and distinguish tumors from non-neoplastic lesions. There are a few minor limitations of the dynamic contrastenhanced perfusion MR imaging technique-susceptibility artifacts, relative rather than absolute quantification of cerebral blood volume, and the inaccurate estimation of cerebral blood volume in patients in whom the blood-brain barrier has been severely disrupted or destroyed. Despite the minor potential pitfalls of the technique, inclusion of perfusion MR imaging as part of a routine evaluation of brain tumors can lead to improved diagnostic accuracy, understanding of tumor pathophysiology, and detection and quantification of tumor angiogenesis. With further work, perfusion MR imaging could be used to assess existing and novel cancer therapies that target blood vessels.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Volume
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation
  • Contrast Media
  • Demyelinating Diseases / diagnosis
  • Glioma / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Lymphoma / diagnosis
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography* / methods
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Meningioma / diagnosis


  • Contrast Media