To compare a commercial contrast agent (CA) Dotarem and a necrosis-avid CA (NACA) for their ability to evaluate the therapeutic necrosis with a vascular disrupting agent (VDA) on magnetic resonance imaging in rodent liver tumors to determine which could better correlate with the histopathologic outcome.
After the VDA treatment, 16 rats with 32 liver rhabdomyosarcomas were randomized into Dotarem and NACA groups (n = 8 per group) for both interindividual and intraindividual comparisons. T2-weighted imaging, T1-weighted imaging (T1WI), contrast-enhanced T1-weighted imaging (CE-T1WI), and diffusion-weighted imaging were performed at baseline, after VDA treatment and CA injections. The enhancing efficacy of CAs at immediate and delayed enhancement on CE-T1WI in viable tumor and necrosis was compared. Tumor necrosis ratios calculated from NACA and Dotarem were compared and correlated with gold-standard histopathology.
On the immediate CE-T1WI, viable tumor was enhanced by either CA. On the delayed CE-T1WI at 30 minutes, both CAs failed to demarcate viable tumor from necrosis. At 24 hours post-NACA, the necrosis was clearly distinguished from viable tumor and thus derived necrosis ratio matched that from histopathology (P = 0.99); necrosis ratio from Dotarem was significantly lower than that from NACA and histopathology (P < 0.05, both), with a higher correlation of NACA than that of Dotarem with histopathology (r = 0.99 vs. r = 0.82).
NACA better evaluated VDA-induced tumor necrosis than nonspecific CA on T1WI in tumor models of rat liver. NACA showed a closer correlation with histopathology than nonspecific CA for the delineation of true necrosis. Delayed enhancement on T1WI with nonspecific CA is not suitable for the assessment of VDA-induced tumor necrosis.