In vivo proton MR spectroscopy of the breast

Radiographics. 2007 Oct;27 Suppl 1:S253-66. doi: 10.1148/rg.27si075519.


In vivo proton magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy (hydrogen 1 spectroscopy) provides useful information about the pathology of breast lesions by the measurement of diagnostic chemicals visible on the MR timescale. Spectroscopic measurements may be obtained following contrast-enhanced MR imaging by applying a point-resolved spatially localized spectroscopy sequence. The observation of resonances at discrete spectral frequencies allows an accurate diagnosis. In spectra obtained in vivo in malignant breast cancers, an observed resonance at 3.23 ppm is consistent with phosphocholine. In spectra from benign breast lesions and some normal breast tissue in lactating mothers and in some nonlactating healthy women, a recorded resonance at 3.28 ppm is thought to originate from glycerophosphocholine, taurine, or myoinositol. The success of in vivo spectroscopy depends on the appropriate pre-acquisition setup, acquisition protocol, and postprocessing techniques for achieving high spectral resolution and a signal-to-noise ratio sufficient to separate the resonances of the important biomarkers. When implemented correctly, the method is diagnostically accurate and robust.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Protons


  • Protons