Get access

Comparing average breast fat content results from two different protocols at 1.5T and 3T: Can the data be pooled?


  • Sofia Chavez PhD,,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Research Imaging Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada
    2. University of Toronto, Psychiatry, Toronto, ON, Canada
    • Address reprint requests to: S.C., 250 College St. PET-G1/B72, Toronto, ON, Canada M5T 1R8. E-mail:

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Greg Stanisz PhD

    1. University of Toronto, Medical Biophysics, Toronto, ON, Canada
    2. Sunnybrook Research Institute, Imaging Research, ON, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author



To compare the total breast fat content computed from two separate studies, performed on different scanners and with different protocols, with the goal of defining a relationship to allow pooling the data.

Materials and Methods

Twelve healthy volunteer women were scanned with two different protocols on the same day. The protocols differed in four important aspects: vendors (GE vs. Philips), scanner main magnetic field strengths (1.5T vs. 3T), pulse sequences (2D fast spin-echo vs. 3D spoiled gradient-echo), and water/fat separation techniques. The resulting water and fat maps were processed with in-house software to extract breast tissue slice-wise. Percent fat content was calculated for each breast, per subject.


Total percent fat contents (averaged across both breasts) resulting from both protocols were plotted against each other, on a subject-by-subject basis, revealing a strong correlation (R2 > 0.99), with an overestimation of the fat content from Protocol 1 relative to Protocol 2. The proposed T2 TE-correction for Protocol 1 improves the correlation while decreasing the discrepancy between protocols.


Total breast fat content of healthy women resulting from the two protocols can be pooled using a linear relationship. The proposed T2 TE-corrected Protocol 1 is expected to yield accurate fat content. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2014;40:890–898. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.