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Accurate Therapeutic Response Assessment of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Using Quantitative Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging With a Point-of-Care Perfusion Phantom

A Pilot Study

Kim, Harrison, PhD, MBA*; Morgan, Desiree E., MD*; Schexnailder, Patrick, PhD; Navari, Rudolph M., MD; Williams, Grant R., MD; Bart Rose, J., MD§; Li, Yufeng, PhD; Paluri, Ravikumar, MD

doi: 10.1097/RLI.0000000000000505
Original Articles

Objectives The aim of this study was to test the feasibility of dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) with concurrent perfusion phantom for monitoring therapeutic response in patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).

Materials and Methods A prospective pilot study was conducted with 8 patients (7 men and 1 woman) aged 46 to 78 years (mean age, 66 years). Participants had either locally advanced (n = 7) or metastatic (n = 1) PDAC, and had 2 DCE-MRI examinations: one before and one 8 ± 1 weeks after starting first-line chemotherapy. A small triplicate perfusion phantom was imaged with each patient, serving as an internal reference for accurate quantitative image analysis. Tumor perfusion was measured with Ktrans using extended Tofts model before and after phantom-based data correction. Results are presented as mean ± SD and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Statistical difference was evaluated with 1-way analysis of variance.

Results Tumor-size change of responding group (n = 4) was −12% ± 4% at 8 weeks of therapy, while that of nonresponding group (n = 4) was 18% ± 15% (P = 0.0100). Before phantom-based data correction, the Ktrans change of responding tumors was 69% ± 23% (95% CI, 32% to 106%) at 8 weeks, whereas that of nonresponding tumors was −1% ± 41% (95% CI, −65% to 64%) (P = 0.0247). After correction, the data variation in each group was significantly reduced; the Ktrans change of responding tumors was 73% ± 6% (95% CI, 64% to 82%) compared with nonresponding tumors of −0% ± 5% (95% CI, −7% to 8%) (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions Quantitative DCE-MRI measured the significant perfusion increase of PDAC tumors responding favorably to chemotherapy, with decreased variability after correction using a perfusion phantom.

From the *Department of Radiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham;

Alliance for Innovative Medical Technology, Southern Research;

Departments of Medicine, and

§Surgery, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL.

Received for publication May 24, 2018; and accepted for publication, after revision, June 25, 2018.

Grant support: Research Initiative Pilot Award from the Department of Radiology at UAB, NIH 5P30CA013148, and Department of Commerce Regional Innovation Strategies Program Cluster Grant to Southern Research ED17HDQ0200016.

Supplemental digital contents are available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (

Correspondence to: Harrison Kim, PhD, MBA, Department of Radiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, VH G082C5, 1720 2nd Ave S, Birmingham, AL, 35294. E-mail:

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