Temporal sampling requirements for the tracer kinetics modeling of breast disease

Magn Reson Imaging. 1998 Nov;16(9):1057-73. doi: 10.1016/s0730-725x(98)00130-1.


The physiological parameters measured in the tracer kinetics modeling of data from a dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance (MR) breast exam (blood flow-extraction fraction product [FE], volume of the extracellular extravascular space [Ve], and blood volume [Vb]) may enable non-invasive diagnosis of breast cancer. One of the factors that compromises the accuracy and precision of the parameter estimates, and therefore their diagnostic potential, is the temporal resolution of the MR scans used to measure contrast agent (gadolinium-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid [Gd-DTPA]) concentration in an artery (arterial input function [AIF]) and in the tissue (tissue residue function [TRF]). Using computer simulations, we have examined, for several AIF widths, the errors introduced into estimates of tracer kinetic parameters in breast tissue due to insufficient temporal sampling. Temporal sampling errors can be viewed as uncertainties and biases in the parameter estimates introduced by the uncertainty in the relative alignments of the AIF, TRF, and sampling grid. These effects arise from the model's inherent sensitivity to error in either the AIF or TRF, which is dependent on the values of the tracer kinetic parameters and increases with AIF width. Based on the results of the simulations, to ensure that the error in FE and Ve will be under 10% of their true values, we recommend a rapid bolus injection of contrast agent (approximately 10 s), that the AIF be sampled every second, and that the TRF be sampled every 16 s or less. An accurate measurement of Vb requires that the TRF be sampled at least every 4 s. The results of these investigations can be used to set minimum dynamic imaging rates for tracer kinetics modeling of the breast.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast / metabolism
  • Breast / pathology
  • Breast Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Breast Diseases / metabolism
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Contrast Media / pharmacokinetics*
  • Diagnostic Errors / prevention & control
  • Diagnostic Errors / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Gadolinium DTPA / pharmacokinetics*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data
  • Models, Biological*
  • Prognosis
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Time Factors


  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium DTPA