Optimization of DCE-MRI protocol for the assessment of patients with brain tumors

Moran Artzi, Gilad Liberman, Guy Nadav, Deborah T. Blumenthal, Felix Bokstein, Orna Aizenstein, Dafna Ben Bashat*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The interstitium-to-plasma rate constant (kep), extracted from dynamic contrast enhancement (DCE-MRI) MRI data, seems to have an important role in the assessment of patients with brain tumors. This parameter is affected by the slow behavior of the system, and thus is expected to be highly dependent on acquisition duration. The aim of this study was to optimize the scan duration and protocol of DCE-MRI for accurate estimation of the kep parameter in patients with high grade brain tumors. The effects of DCE-MRI scan duration and protocol design (continuous vs integrated scanning) on the estimated pharmacokinetic (PK) parameters and on model selection, were studied using both simulated and patient data. Scan duration varied, up to 60 min for simulated data, and up to 25 min in 25 MRI scans obtained from patients with high grade brain tumors, with continuous and integrated scanning protocols. Converging results were obtained from simulated and real data. Significant effect of scan duration was detected on kep. Scan duration of 9 min, with integrated protocol in which the data are acquired continuously for 5 min, and additional volumes at 7 and 9 min, was sufficient for accurate estimation of even low kep values, with an average error of 3%. Over-estimation of the PK parameters was detected for scan duration >12 min, being more pronounced at low kep values (<0.1 min−1). For the model selection maps, significantly lower percentage of the full extended-Tofts-model (ETM) was selected in patients at scan duration of 5 min compared to >12 min. An integrated protocol of 9 min is suggested as optimal for clinical use in patients with high grade brain tumors. Lower acquisition time may result in over-estimation of kep when using ETM, and therefore care should be taken using model selection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1242
Number of pages1
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Brain tumors
  • Dynamic contrast enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI)
  • Interstitium to plasma rate constant (k)
  • Model selection
  • Pharmacokinetic parameters (PK)


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