In vivo determination of human breast fat composition by ¹H magnetic resonance spectroscopy at 7 T

Magn Reson Med. 2012 Jan;67(1):20-6. doi: 10.1002/mrm.22993. Epub 2011 Jun 7.


The role of diet and fat consumption in the pathogenesis of breast cancer is an important subject. We report a method for noninvasive determination of lipid composition in human breast by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) at 7 T. Two respiratory-triggered TE-averaged stimulated echo acquisition mode (STEAM) acquisitions were performed on the adipose tissue of 10 healthy volunteers where the second acquisition had all gradients inverted. This acquisition protocol allows the suppression of modulation sidebands that complicate spectral analysis at the short TE(avg) = 24.5 ms. The entire acquisition takes ∼10 min. Ten lipid peaks were typically resolved. T(1) and T(2) were also measured and used to correct the peak intensities. The calculated average lipid composition for saturated was 28.7 ± 8.4%, monounsaturated, 48.5 ± 7.9%, and polyunsaturated, 22.7 ± 3.1%, in close agreement with reported values from subcutaneous adipose measurements. Intrasubject variability was 2.0, 1.6, and 3.6% for the saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fractions, respectively. In conclusion, we have shown that a chemical analysis of lipids in breast tissue can be determined quite simply, quickly, and noninvasively by proton MRS at 7 T.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / chemistry*
  • Adult
  • Algorithms*
  • Body Fat Distribution / methods*
  • Breast / chemistry*
  • Breast / physiology*
  • Fatty Acids / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Protons
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Fatty Acids
  • Protons