Quantitative MRI for Assessment of Treatment Outcomes in a Rabbit VX2 Hepatic Tumor Model

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2020 Sep;52(3):668-685. doi: 10.1002/jmri.26968. Epub 2019 Nov 12.


Globally, primary and secondary liver cancer is one of the most common cancer types, accounting 8.2% of deaths worldwide in 2018. One of the key strategies to improve the patient's prognosis is the early diagnosis, when liver function is still preserved. In hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the typical wash-in/wash-out pattern in conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) reaches a sensitivity of 60% and specificity of 96-100%. However, in recent years functional MRI sequences such as hepatocellular-specific gadolinium-based dynamic-contrast enhanced MRI, diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) have been demonstrated to improve the evaluation of treatment success and thus the therapeutic decision-making and the patient's outcome. In the preclinical research setting, the VX2 liver rabbit tumor, which once originated from a virus-induced anaplastic squamous cell carcinoma, has played a longstanding role in experimental interventional oncology. Especially the high tumor vascularity allows assessing the treatment response of locoregional interventions such as radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and transcatheter arterial embolization (TACE). Functional MRI has been used to monitor the tumor growth and viability following interventional treatment. Besides promising results, a comprehensive overview of functional MRI sequences used so far in different treatment setting is lacking, thus lowering the comparability of study results. This review offers a comprehensive overview of study protocols, results, and limitations of quantitative MRI sequences applied to evaluate the treatment outcome of VX2 hepatic tumor models, thus generating a unique basis for future MRI studies and potential translation into the clinical setting. Level of Evidence: 2 Technical Efficacy: Stage 1 J. MAGN. RESON. IMAGING 2019. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2020;52:668-685.

Keywords: MR spectroscopy; MRI; New Zealand white rabbits; diffusion magnetic resonance imaging; functional; gadoxetic acid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / therapy
  • Contrast Media
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Rabbits
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Contrast Media