Dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MRI is often used to measure the transfer constant (Ktrans) and distribution volume (ve) in pelvic tumors. For optimal accuracy and reproducibility, one must quantify the arterial input function (AIF). Unfortunately, this is challenging due to inflow and signal saturation. A potential solution is to use MR signal phase (ϕ), which is relatively unaffected by these factors. We hypothesized that phase-derived AIFs (AIFϕ) would provide more reproducible Ktrans and ve values than magnitude-derived AIFs (AIF|S|). We tested this in 27 prostate dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI studies (echo time=2.56 ms, temporal resolution=13.5 s), using muscle as a standard. AIFϕ peak amplitude varied much less as a function of measurement location (inferior-superior) than AIF|S| (5.6±0.6 mM vs. 2.6±1.5 mM), likely as a result of ϕ inflow insensitivity. However, our main hypothesis was not confirmed. The best AIF|S| provided similar reproducibility versus AIFϕ (interpatient muscle Ktrans=0.039±0.021 min(-1) vs. 0.037±0.025 min(-1), ve=0.090±0.041 vs. 0.062±0.022, respectively).
Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.