Data-driven mapping of hypoxia-related tumor heterogeneity using DCE-MRI and OE-MRI

Adam K. Featherstone, James P.B. O'Connor, Ross A. Little, Yvonne Watson, Sue Cheung, Muhammad Babur, Kaye J. Williams, Julian C. Matthews, Geoff J.M. Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Previous work has shown that combining dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE)-MRI and oxygen-enhanced (OE)-MRI binary enhancement maps can identify tumor hypoxia. The current work proposes a novel, data-driven method for mapping tissue oxygenation and perfusion heterogeneity, based on clustering DCE/OE-MRI data. Methods: DCE-MRI and OE-MRI were performed on nine U87 (glioblastoma) and seven Calu6 (non-small cell lung cancer) murine xenograft tumors. Area under the curve and principal component analysis features were calculated and clustered separately using Gaussian mixture modelling. Evaluation metrics were calculated to determine the optimum feature set and cluster number. Outputs were quantitatively compared with a previous non data-driven approach. Results: The optimum method located six robustly identifiable clusters in the data, yielding tumor region maps with spatially contiguous regions in a rim-core structure, suggesting a biological basis. Mean within-cluster enhancement curves showed physiologically distinct, intuitive kinetics of enhancement. Regions of DCE/OE-MRI enhancement mismatch were located, and voxel categorization agreed well with the previous non data-driven approach (Cohen's kappa = 0.61, proportional agreement = 0.75). Conclusion: The proposed method locates similar regions to the previous published method of binarization of DCE/OE-MRI enhancement, but renders a finer segmentation of intra-tumoral oxygenation and perfusion. This could aid in understanding the tumor microenvironment and its heterogeneity. Magn Reson Med 79:2236–2245, 2018.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2236-2245
Number of pages10
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number4
Early online date31 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • cancer
  • clustering
  • heterogeneity
  • hypoxia
  • OE-MRI


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