The aim of this study was to demonstrate the feasibility of hepatic perfusion imaging
using dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) golden-angle radial sparse parallel (GRASP) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for characterizing liver parenchyma and hepatocellular carcinoma
(HCC) before and after transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) as a potential alternative to volume perfusion computed tomography (VPCT).
Methods and Materials
Between November 2017 and September 2018, 10 patients (male = 8; mean age, 66.5 ± 8.6 years) with HCC were included in this prospective, institutional review board–approved study. All patients underwent DCE GRASP MRI with high spatiotemporal resolution after injection of liver-specific MR contrast agent before and after TACE. In addition, VPCT was acquired before TACE serving as standard of reference. From the dynamic imaging data of DCE MRI and VPCT, perfusion maps (arterial liver perfusion [mL/100 mL/min], portal liver perfusion [mL/100 mL/min], hepatic perfusion index [%]) were calculated using a dual-input maximum slope model
and compared with assess perfusion measures, lesion characteristics, and treatment response using Wilcoxon signed-rank test. To evaluate interreader agreement for measurement repeatability, the interclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was calculated.
Perfusion maps could be successfully generated from all DCE MRI and VPCT data. The ICC was excellent for all perfusion maps (ICC ≥ 0.88; P
≤ 0.001). Image analyses revealed perfusion parameters for DCE MRI and VPCT within the same absolute range for tumor and liver tissue. Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI further enabled quantitative assessment of treatment response showing a significant decrease (P
≤ 0.01) of arterial liver perfusion and hepatic perfusion index in the target lesion after TACE.
Dynamic contrast-enhanced GRASP MRI allows for a reliable and robust assessment of hepatic perfusion parameters providing quantitative results comparable to VPCT and enables characterization of HCC before and after TACE, thus posing the potential to serve as an alternative to VPCT.