Contrast-enhanced MR imaging of metastatic brain tumor at 3 tesla: utility of T(1)-weighted SPACE compared with 2D spin echo and 3D gradient echo sequence

Magn Reson Med Sci. 2008;7(1):13-21. doi: 10.2463/mrms.7.13.


We evaluated the newly developed whole-brain, isotropic, 3-dimensional turbo spin-echo imaging with variable flip angle echo train (SPACE) for contrast-enhanced T(1)-weighted imaging in detecting brain metastases at 3 tesla (T). Twenty-two patients with suspected brain metastases underwent postcontrast study with SPACE, magnetization-prepared rapid gradient-echo (MP-RAGE), and 2-dimensional T(1)-weighted spin echo (2D-SE) imaging at 3T. We quantitatively compared SPACE, MP-RAGE, and 2D-SE images by using signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) for gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) and contrast-to-noise ratios (CNRs) for GM-to-WM, lesion-to-GM, and lesion-to-WM. Two blinded radiologists evaluated the detection of brain metastases by segment-by-segment analysis and continuously-distributed test. The CNR between GM and WM was significantly higher on MP-RAGE images than on SPACE images (P<0.01). The CNRs for lesion-to-GM and lesion-to-WM were significantly higher on SPACE images than on MP-RAGE images (P<0.01). There was no significant difference in each sequence in detection of brain metastases by segment-by-segment analysis and the continuously-distributed test. However, in some cases, the lesions were easier to detect in SPACE images than in other sequences, and also the vascular signals, which sometimes mimic lesions in MP-RAGE and 2D-SE images, were suppressed in SPACE images. In detection of brain metastases at 3T magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, SPACE imaging may provide an effective, alternative approach to MP-RAGE imaging for 3D T(1)-weighted imaging.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Contrast Media / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Gadolinium DTPA*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / instrumentation
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Time Factors


  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium DTPA