Signal-to-noise ratio, contrast-to-noise ratio and pharmacokinetic modeling considerations in dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging

Magn Reson Imaging. 2012 Nov;30(9):1313-22. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2012.05.005. Epub 2012 Jul 15.


With advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology, dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE)-MRI is approaching the capability to simultaneously deliver both high spatial and high temporal resolutions for clinical applications. However, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) considerations and their impacts regarding pharmacokinetic modeling of the time-course data continue to represent challenges in the design of DCE-MRI acquisitions. Given that many acquisition parameters can affect the nature of DCE-MRI data, minimizing tissue-specific data acquisition discrepancy (among sites and scanner models) is as important as synchronizing pharmacokinetic modeling approaches. For cancer-related DCE-MRI studies where rapid contrast reagent (CR) extravasation is expected, current DCE-MRI protocols often adopt a three-dimensional fast low-angle shot (FLASH) sequence to achieve spatial-temporal resolution requirements. Based on breast and prostate DCE-MRI data acquired with different FLASH sequence parameters, this paper elucidates a number of SNR and CNR considerations for acquisition optimization and pharmacokinetic modeling implications therein. Simulations based on region of interest data further indicate that the effects of intercompartmental water exchange often play an important role in DCE time-course data modeling, especially for protocols optimized for post-CR SNR.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Breast / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Contrast Media / pharmacokinetics
  • Contrast Media / pharmacology*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio*
  • Time Factors
  • Water / chemistry


  • Contrast Media
  • Water