Synthesizing a Contrast-Enhancement Map in Patients with High-Grade Gliomas Based on a Postcontrast MR Imaging Quantification Only

AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2018 Dec;39(12):2194-2199. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A5870. Epub 2018 Nov 8.


Background and purpose: Administration of a gadolinium-based contrast agent is an important diagnostic biomarker for blood-brain barrier damage. In clinical use, detection is based on subjective comparison of native and postgadolinium-based contrast agent T1-weighted images. Quantitative MR imaging studies have suggested a relation between the longitudinal relaxation rate and proton-density in the brain parenchyma, which is disturbed by gadolinium-based contrast agents. This discrepancy can be used to synthesize a contrast-enhancement map based solely on the postgadolinium-based contrast agent acquisition. The aim of this study was to compare synthetic enhancement maps with subtraction maps of native and postgadolinium-based contrast agent images.

Materials and methods: For 14 patients with high-grade gliomas, quantitative MR imaging was performed before and after gadolinium-based contrast agent administration. The quantification sequence was multidynamic and multiecho, with a scan time of 6 minutes. The 2 image stacks were coregistered using in-plane transformation. The longitudinal relaxation maps were subtracted and correlated with the synthetic longitudinal relaxation enhancement maps on the basis of the postgadolinium-based contrast agent images only. ROIs were drawn for tumor delineation.

Results: Linear regression of the subtraction and synthetic longitudinal relaxation enhancement maps showed a slope of 1.02 ± 0.19 and an intercept of 0.05 ± 0.12. The Pearson correlation coefficient was 0.861 ± 0.059, and the coefficient of variation was 0.18 ± 0.04. On average, a volume of 1.71 ± 1.28 mL of low-intensity enhancement was detected in the synthetic enhancement maps outside the borders of the drawn ROI.

Conclusions: The study shows that there was a good correlation between subtraction longitudinal relaxation enhancement maps and synthetic longitudinal relaxation enhancement maps in patients with high-grade gliomas. The method may improve the sensitivity and objectivity for the detection of gadolinium-based contrast agent enhancement.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Contrast Media
  • Female
  • Gadolinium
  • Glioma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroimaging / methods*


  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium