SU-G-IeP1-07: Inaccuracy of Lesion Blood Flow Quantification Related to the Proton Density Reference Image in Arterial Spin Labeling MRI of Brain Tumors




Cerebral blood flow quantification in arterial spin labeling (ASL) MRI requires an estimate of the equilibrium magnetization of blood, which is often obtained by a set of proton density (PD) reference image. Normally, a constant blood-brain partition coefficient is assumed across the brain. However, this assumption may not be valid for brain lesions. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of lesion-related PD variations on ASL quantification in patients with brain tumors.


MR images for posttreatment evaluation of 42 patients with brain tumors were retrospectively analyzed. These images were acquired on a 3T MRI scanner, including T2-weighted FLAIR, 3D pseudo-continuous ASL and post-contrast T1-weighted images. Anatomical images were coregistered with ASL images using the SPM software. Regions of interest (ROIs) of the enhancing and FLAIR lesions were manually drawn on the coregistered images. ROIs of the contralateral normal appearing tissues were also determined, with the consideration of approximating coil sensitivity patterns in lesion ROIs. Relative lesion blood flow (lesion/contralateral tissue) was calculated from both the CBF map (dependent on the PD) and the ΔM map for comparison.


The signal intensities in both enhancing and FLAIR lesions were significantly different than contralateral tissues on the PD reference image (p<0.001). The percent signal difference ranged from −15.9 to 19.2%, with a mean of 5.4% for the enhancing lesion, and from −2.8 to 22.9% with a mean of 10.1% for the FLAIR lesion. The high/low lesion-related PD signal resulted in inversely proportional under-/over-estimation of blood flow in both enhancing and FLAIR lesions.


Significant signal differences were found between lesions and contralateral tissues in the PD reference image, which introduced errors in blood flow quantification in ASL. The error can be up to 20% in individual patients with an average of 5- 10% for the group of patients with brain tumors.