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Acad Radiol. 2008 Oct;15(10):1246-54. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2008.03.019.

Metabolic and vascular features of dynamic contrast-enhanced breast magnetic resonance imaging and (15)O-water positron emission tomography blood flow in breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of Washington, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, 825 Eastlake Avenue East, G3-200, Seattle, WA 98109-1023, USA.



We sought to (1) describe associations between measures of tumor perfusion by dynamic contrast-enhanced breast magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI), blood flow by (15)O-water positron emission tomography (PET) and metabolism by (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose ((18)F)-FDG PET and (2) improve our understanding of tumor enhancement on MRI through independent measures of tumor metabolism and blood flow.


We performed a retrospective analysis of the existing PET and MRI databases from the Departments of Nuclear Medicine and Radiology. We identified patients with locally advanced breast cancer who underwent (15)O-water/(18)F-FDG PET within 1 month of clinical DCE-MRI between February 2004 and August 2006. The (15)O-water PET blood flow and (18)F-FDG metabolic rate and tissue transport constant (K(1)) in the primary malignancy were calculated. DCE-MRI peak percent enhancement and peak signal enhancement ratio (SER) were measured for each tumor. Correlations and regression analysis of these variables were performed.


Fifteen patients with complete PET and DCE-MRI data were included in the analysis cohort. Peak SER correlated significantly with blood flow (r = 0.73, P = .002) and K(1) (r = 0.76, P = .001). However, peak SER did not correlate significantly with FDG metabolic rate (r = 0.44, P = .101). There were no significant correlations between peak percent enhancement and any of the PET parameters.


Our findings suggest that tumor perfusion, represented by (15)O-water PET blood flow, is an important factor in the MRI enhancement of locally advanced breast cancer. A lack of correlation of FDG metabolic rate with blood flow and DCE-MRI kinetics suggests that (18)F-FDG PET provides complementary metabolic information independent of vascular factors.

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