The application of dynamic susceptibility contrast (DSC) MRI methods to assess brain tumors is often confounded by the extravasation of contrast agent (CA). Disruption of the blood-brain barrier allows CA to leak out of the vasculature leading to additional T(1), T(2) and T(2) relaxation effects in the extravascular space, thereby affecting the signal intensity time course in a complex manner. The goal of this study was to validate a dual-echo DSC-MRI approach that separates and quantifies the T(1) and T(2) contributions to the acquired signal and enables the estimation of the volume transfer constant, K(trans), and the volume fraction of the extravascular extracellular space, v(e). To test the validity of this approach, DSC-MRI- and dynamic contrast enhanced (DCE) MRI-derived K(trans) and v(e) estimates were spatially compared in both 9L and C6 rat brain tumor models. A high degree of correlation (concordance correlation coefficients >0.83, Pearson's r>0.84) and agreement was found between the DSC-MRI- and DCE-MRI-derived measurements. These results indicate that dual-echo DSC-MRI can be used to simultaneously extract reliable DCE-MRI kinetic parameters in brain tumors in addition to conventional blood volume and blood flow metrics.
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