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Development of Quantitative Microvascular Breast MRI

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The purpose of this research is to develop a non-invasive predictor of malignancy in breast tumors through the design and preliminary validation of a new form of magnetic resonance imaging MRI . The hypothesis is that the spatial distribution of microvasculature around a solid breast lesion is specific for malignancy and can be reliably measured at high resolution by a completely non-invasive, non-contrast-enhanced MRI method. This is being tested by achieving the following 1. Designbuildingtesting of ultra-high-strength gradient coils for human breast imaging at 1.5 Tesla T and 4T. 2. Designimplementationtesting of MR pulse sequences for selective mapping of microvascular parameters. 3.Correlation of MR-derived microvascular parameters with true microvessel density in a rat model of human breast cancer. A gradient coil has been designed that is suitable for high resolution imaging of tumours in rats and achieves gradient strengths up to 3OOmTm typical clinical systems achieve 4OmTm . A non-contrast-enhanced MRI pulse sequence that uses diffusion weighting has been implemented at l.5T, and has been used to acquire images of breast tumours in rats. Using an analysis program designed in house, our results show that our technique allows imaging of the micravasculature in tumours. The significance of this research is that, with relatively low-cost modifications to MR imaging equipment, it should be possible to detect, diagnose, and provide much improved prognosis of lesions suspected to be breast cancer. Further, this technique will measure non-invasively the microvasculature, allowing monitoring of anti-angiogenic treatments.

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Final rept. 1 Jul 1998-30 Jun 2001



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