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Clin Neuroradiol. 2014 Jun 12. [Epub ahead of print]

High Resolution Imaging of Viscoelastic Properties of Intracranial Tumours by Multi-Frequency Magnetic Resonance Elastography.

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  • 1Department of Neuroradiology, University of Leipzig, Liebigstr. 20, 04103, Leipzig, Germany,



In recent years Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE) emerged into a clinically applicable imaging technique. It has been shown that MRE is capable of measuring global changes of the viscoelastic properties of cerebral tissue. The purpose of our study was to evaluate a spatially resolved three-dimensional multi-frequent MRE (3DMMRE) for assessment of the viscoelastic properties of intracranial tumours.


A total of 27 patients (63±13 years) were included. All examinations were performed on a 3.0 T scanner, using a modified phase-contrast echo planar imaging sequence. We used 7 vibration frequencies in the low acoustic range with a temporal resolution of 8 dynamics per wave cycle. Post-processing included multi-frequency dual elasto-visco (MDEV) inversion to generate high-resolution maps of the magnitude |G*| and the phase angle φ of the complex valued shear modulus.


The tumour entities included in this study were: glioblastoma (n = 11), anaplastic astrocytoma (n = 3), meningioma (n = 7), cerebral metastasis (n = 5) and intracerebral abscess formation (n = 1). Primary brain tumours and cerebral metastases were not distinguishable in terms of |G*| and φ. Glioblastoma presented the largest range of |G*| values and a trend was delineable that glioblastoma were slightly softer than WHO grade III tumours. In terms of φ, meningiomas were clearly distinguishable from all other entities.


In this pilot study, while analysing the viscoelastic constants of various intracranial tumour entities with an improved spatial resolution, it was possible to characterize intracranial tumours by their mechanical properties. We were able to clearly delineate meningiomas from intraaxial tumours, while for the latter group an overlap remains in viscoelastic terms.

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