Purpose: To evaluate the technical feasibility of high-resolution USPIO-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging of pelvic lymph nodes (LNs) at ultrahigh magnetic field strength.
Materials and methods: The ethics review board approved this study and written informed consent was obtained from all patients. Three patients with rectal cancer and three selected patients with (recurrent) prostate cancer were examined at 7-T 24-36 h after intravenous ferumoxtran-10 administration; rectal cancer patients also received a 3-T MRI. Pelvic LN imaging was performed using the TIAMO technique in combination with water-selective multi-GRE imaging and lipid-selective GRE imaging with a spatial resolution of 0.66 × 0.66 × 0.66mm3. T2*-weighted images of the water-selective imaging were computed from the multi-GRE images at TE = 0, 8, and 14 ms and used for the assessment of USPIO uptake.
Results: High-resolution 7-T MR gradient-echo imaging was obtained robustly in all patients without suffering from RF-related signal voids. USPIO signal decay in LNs was visualized using computed TE imaging at TE = 8 ms and an R2* map derived from water-selective imaging. Anatomically, LNs were identified on a combined reading of computed TE = 0 ms images from water-selective scans and images from lipid-selective scans. A range of 3-48 LNs without USPIO signal decay was found per patient. These LNs showed high signal intensity on computed TE = 8 and 14 ms imaging and low R2* (corresponding to high T2*) values on the R2* map.
Conclusion: USPIO-enhanced MRI of the pelvis at 7-T is technically feasible and offers opportunities for detecting USPIO uptake in normal-sized LNs, due to its high intrinsic signal-to-noise ratio and spatial resolution.
Key points: • USPIO-enhanced MRI at 7-T can indicate USPIO uptake in lymph nodes based on computed TE images. • Our method promises a high spatial resolution for pelvic lymph node imaging.
Keywords: Ferumoxtran-10; Lymph nodes; Magnetic resonance imaging; Metastasis; Pelvis.