T2*-weighted MRI as a non-contrast-enhanced method for assessment of focal laser ablation zone extent in prostate cancer thermotherapy

Eur Radiol. 2021 Jan;31(1):325-332. doi: 10.1007/s00330-020-07127-7. Epub 2020 Aug 12.


Objectives: To evaluate utility of T2*-weighted (T2*W) MRI as a tool for intra-operative identification of ablation zone extent during focal laser ablation (FLA) of prostate cancer (PCa), as compared to the current standard of contrast-enhanced T1-weighted (T1W) MRI.

Methods: Fourteen patients with biopsy-confirmed low- to intermediate-risk localized PCa received MRI-guided (1.5 T) FLA thermotherapy. Following FLA, axial multiple-TE T2*W images, diffusion-weighted images (DWI), and T2-weighted (T2W) images were acquired. Pre- and post-contrast T1W images were also acquired to assess ablation zone (n = 14) extent, as reference standard. Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps and subtracted contrast-enhanced T1W (sceT1W) images were calculated. Ablation zone regions of interest (ROIs) were outlined manually on all ablated slices. The contrast-to-noise ratio (CBR) of the ablation site ROI relative to the untreated contralateral prostate tissue was calculated on T2*W images and ADC maps and compared to that in sceT1W images.

Results: CBRs in ablation ROIs on T2*W images (TE = 32, 63 ms) did not differ (p = 0.33, 0.25) from those in sceT1W images. Bland-Altman plots of ROI size and CBR in ablation sites showed good agreement between T2*W (TE = 32, 63 ms) and sceT1W images, with ROI sizes on T2*W (TE = 63 ms) strongly correlated (r = 0.64, p = 0.013) and within 15% of those in sceT1W images.

Conclusions: In detected ablation zone ROI size and CBR, non-contrast-enhanced T2*W MRI is comparable to contrast-enhanced T1W MRI, presenting as a potential method for intra-procedural monitoring of FLA for PCa.

Key points: • T2*-weighted MR images with long TE visualize post-procedure focal laser ablation zone comparably to the contrast-enhanced T1-weighted MRI. • T2*-weighted MRI could be used as a plausible method for repeated intra-operative monitoring of thermal ablation zone in prostate cancer, avoiding potential toxicity due to heating of contrast agent.

Keywords: Laser therapy; Magnetic resonance imaging; Monitoring, intra-operative; Prostate neoplasms.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced*
  • Laser Therapy*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / surgery