Pre-treatment functional MRI of breast cancer: T2* evaluation at 3 T and relationship to dynamic contrast-enhanced and diffusion-weighted imaging

Publication date: October 2018
Source:Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Volume 52
Author(s): Evanthia Kousi, Elizabeth A.M. O’Flynn, Marco Borri, Veronica A. Morgan, Nandita M. deSouza, Maria A. Schmidt
PurposeBaseline T2* relaxation time has been proposed as an imaging biomarker in cancer, in addition to Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced (DCE) MRI and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) parameters. The purpose of the current work is to investigate sources of error in T2* measurements and the relationship between T2* and DCE and DWI functional parameters in breast cancer.MethodsFive female volunteers and thirty-two women with biopsy proven breast cancer were scanned at 3 T, with Research Ethics Committee approval. T2* values of the normal breast were acquired from high-resolution, low-resolution and fat-suppressed gradient-echo sequences in volunteers, and compared. In breast cancer patients, pre-treatment T2*, DCE MRI and DWI were performed at baseline. Pathologically complete responders at surgery and non-responders were identified and compared. Principal component analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis (CA) were performed.ResultsThere were no significant differences between T2* values from high-resolution, low-resolution and fat-suppressed datasets (p > 0.05). There were not significant differences between baseline functional parameters in responders and non-responders (p > 0.05). However, there were differences in the relationship between T2* and contrast-agent uptake in responders and non-responders. Voxels of similar characteristics were grouped in 5 clusters, and large intra-tumoural variations of all parameters were demonstrated.ConclusionBreast T2* measurements at 3 T are robust, but spatial resolution should be carefully considered. T2* of breast tumours at baseline is unrelated to DCE and DWI parameters and contribute towards describing functional heterogeneity of breast tumours.