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Combined DCE-MRI and single-voxel 2D MRS for differentiation between benign and malignant breast lesions



Dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and proton (1H) magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) provide structural and biochemical information, including vascular volume, vascular permeability and tissue metabolism. In this study, we performed analysis of the enhancement characteristic from DCE-MRI and the biochemical information provided by two-dimensional (2D) Localized Correlated Spectroscopy (L-COSY) MRS to determine the sensitivity and specificity of using DCE-MRI alone compared to the combination with 2D MRS. The metabolite ratios from the 2D MRS spectra were analyzed using multivariate statistical analyses to determine a method capable of automatic separation of the patient cohort into malignant and benign lesions. A total of 24 lesions were studied with 21 diagnosed accurately using the enhancement characteristics alone resulting in sensitivity and specificity of 100% and 73%, respectively. Analysis of the 2D MRS data demonstrated a significant difference (p < 0.05) in 12 of 18 metabolite ratios analyzed for malignant compared to benign lesions. Previous research focused on utilizing the choline signal to noise ratio (SNR) as a marker for malignancy has been verified using 2D MRS in this study. Using Fisher's linear discriminant test using water (WAT)/olefinic fat diagonal (UFD), choline (CHO)/fat (FAT), CHO/UFD, and FAT/methyl fat (FMETD) as predictors the sensitivity and specificity increased to 92% and 100%, respectively. Using the Classification and Regression Tree (CART) statistical analysis the resulting sensitivity and specificity were 100% and 91%, respectively, with the most accurate predictor for differentiating malignant and benign determined to be FAT/FMETD. The cases within the study that presented a indeterminate diagnosis using DCE-MRI alone were able to be accurately diagnosed when the metabolic information from 2D MRS was incorporated. The results suggest improved breast cancer detection through the combination of morphological and enhancement information from DCE-MRI and metabolic information from 2D MRS. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.