Mathematical model for histogram analysis of dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI: A method to evaluate the drug treatment response in rheumatoid arthritis

Eur J Radiol. 2021 Aug;141:109831. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2021.109831. Epub 2021 Jun 25.


Purpose: To evaluate the effectiveness of a mathematical model for histogram analysis of DCE-MRI in distinguishing responders from non-responders during RA drug treatment.

Method: Twenty-three consecutive RA patients with clinically active inflammation prospectively underwent DCE-MRI at baseline and after treatment. Manual segmentation of the enhanced synovium was performed on the last phase of DCE-MRI. The voxel-based contrast enhancement was calculated in each phase to obtain 75th percentile values. Kinetic curves made from the 75th percentile values were fitted to mathematical model as follows, ΔS(t) = A(1 - e-αt)e-βt, where A is the upper limit of signal intensity (%), α (sec-1) is the rate of signal increase, and β (sec-1) is the rate of signal decrease during washout. AUC30 was calculated by integration of 30 s. SER was calculated as the signal intensity at the initial time point (t = 60) relative to the delayed time point (t = 300). The volumes of enhanced synovium (sum of the number of voxels) were also calculated.

Results: After treatment, α, Aα, AUC30 and SER were significantly lower in the responder group than in the non-responder group (p = 0.033, 0.024, 0.015, and 0.007). The p value of SER was lowest. Aα, AUC30, and the volume of enhanced synovium had significantly larger changes from baseline to after treatment in the responder group than in the non-responder group (p = 0.045, 0.017, and 0.008). The volume of enhanced synovium had the lowest p value.

Conclusions: SER after treatment and change in the volume of enhanced synovium might be effective for distinguishing responders from non-responders.

Keywords: Dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging; Mathematical model; Rheumatoid arthritis; Synovitis; Treatment response.

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / diagnostic imaging
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / drug therapy
  • Contrast Media
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations*


  • Contrast Media
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations