The goal of this study was to investigate the relationship between an empirical contrast kinetic parameter, the signal enhancement ratio (SER), for three-timepoint, high spatial resolution contrast-enhanced (CE) MRI, and a commonly analyzed pharmacokinetic parameter, kep, using dynamic high temporal resolution CE-MRI. Computer simulation was performed to investigate: 1) the relationship between the SER and the contrast agent concentration ratio (CACR) of two postcontrast timepoints (tp1 and tp2); 2) the relationship between the CACR and the redistribution rate constant (k ep) based on a two-compartment pharmacokinetic model; and 3) the sensitivity of the relationship between the SER and kep to native tissue T1 relaxation time, T10, and to errors in an assumed vascular input function. The relationship between SER and kep was verified experimentally using a mouse model of breast cancer. The results showed that a monotonie mathematical relationship between SER and kep could be established if the acquisition parameters and the two postinjection timepoints of SER, tp1, tp2, were appropriately chosen. The in vivo study demonstrated a close correlation between SER and k ep on a pixel-by-pixel basis (Spearman rank correlation coefficient = 0.87 ± 0.03). The SER is easy to calculate and may have a unique role in breast tissue characterization. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
- Breast cancer
- Contrast-enhanced MRI
- Pharmacokinetic modeling
- Signal enhancement ratio (SER)