Introduction: The purpose of this study was to compare the non-invasive 3D pseudo-continuous arterial spin labelling (PC ASL) technique with the clinically established dynamic susceptibility contrast perfusion magnetic resonance imaging (DSC-MRI) for evaluation of brain tumours.
Methods: A prospective study of 28 patients with contrast-enhancing brain tumours was performed at 3 T using DSC-MRI and PC ASL with whole-brain coverage. The visual qualitative evaluation of signal enhancement in tumour was scored from 0 to 3 (0 = no signal enhancement compared with white matter, 3 = pronounced signal enhancement with equal or higher signal intensity than in grey matter/basal ganglia). The extent of susceptibility artefacts in the tumour was scored from 0 to 2 (0 = no susceptibility artefacts and 2 = extensive susceptibility artefacts (maximum diameter > 2 cm)). A quantitative analysis was performed with normalised tumour blood flow values (ASL nTBF, DSC nTBF): mean value for region of interest (ROI) in an area with maximum signal enhancement/the mean value for ROIs in cerebellum.
Results: There was no difference in total visual score for signal enhancement between PC ASL and DSC relative cerebral blood flow (p = 0.12). ASL had a lower susceptibility-artefact score than DSC-MRI (p = 0.03). There was good correlation between DSC nTBF and ASL nTBF values with a correlation coefficient of 0.82.
Conclusion: PC ASL is an alternative to DSC-MRI for the evaluation of perfusion in brain tumours. The method has fewer susceptibility artefacts than DSC-MRI and can be used in patients with renal failure because no contrast injection is needed.