A comparison of iopromide and iopamidol, two acidoCEST MRI contrast media that measure tumor extracellular pH

Contrast Media Mol Imaging. Nov-Dec 2015;10(6):446-55. doi: 10.1002/cmmi.1647. Epub 2015 Jun 25.


Acidosis within tumor and kidney tissues has previously been quantitatively measured using a molecular imaging technique known as acidoCEST MRI. The previous studies used iopromide and iopamidol, two iodinated contrast agents that are approved for clinical CT diagnoses and have been repurposed for acidoCEST MRI studies. We aimed to compare the performance of the two agents for measuring pH by optimizing image acquisition conditions, correlating pH with a ratio of CEST effects from an agent, and evaluating the effects of concentration, endogenous T1 relaxation time and temperature on the pH-CEST ratio correlation for each agent. These results showed that the two agents had similar performance characteristics, although iopromide produced a pH measurement with a higher dynamic range while iopamidol produced a more precise pH measurement. We then compared the performance of the two agents to measure in vivo extracellular pH (pHe) within xenograft tumor models of Raji lymphoma and MCF-7 breast cancer. Our results showed that the pHe values measured with each agent were not significantly different. Also, iopromide consistently measured a greater region of the tumor relative to iopamidol in both tumor models. Therefore, an iodinated contrast agent for acidoCEST MRI should be selected based on the measurement properties needed for a specific biomedical study and the pharmacokinetic properties of a specific tumor model.

Keywords: CEST MRI; iopamidol; iopromide; tumor acidosis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acidosis / pathology
  • Animals
  • Calibration
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Contrast Media / chemistry*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / physiology
  • Extracellular Fluid / chemistry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Iohexol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Iohexol / chemistry
  • Iopamidol / chemistry*
  • Kidney / pathology
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Transplantation, Heterologous
  • Tumor Microenvironment / physiology*


  • Contrast Media
  • Iohexol
  • iopromide
  • Iopamidol