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Invest Radiol. 2008 May;43(5):298-305. doi: 10.1097/RLI.0b013e318164b71d.

Magnetic resonance imaging assays for dimethyl sulfoxide effect on cancer vasculature.

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Center for Pharmaceutical and Molecular Imaging, Department of Radiology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-0628, USA.



To evaluate the potential of quantitative assays of vascular characteristics based on dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) using a macromolecular contrast medium (MMCM) to search for and measure effects of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) on cancer vasculature with microscopic correlations.


Saline-treated control (n = 8) and DMSO-treated (n = 7) human breast cancer xenografts (MDA-MB-435) in rats were imaged dynamically by MMCM-enhanced MRI using albumin-(Gd-DTPA)27-(biotin)11 (molecular weight approximately 90 kDa), before and after a 1-week, 3-dose treatment course. After the posttreatment MRI examinations, tumors were perfused with lectin and fixative and subsequently stained with RECA-1 and streptavidin for quantitative fluorescent microscopy. Quantitative MRI estimates of cancer microvessel permeability (KPS; microL/min.100 cm3) and fractional plasma volume (fPV; %) were based on a 2-compartment kinetic model. Fluorescent microscopy yielded estimates of MMCM extravasation and vascular density that were compared to the MRI results.


DMSO decreased cancer vascular endothelial permeability significantly (P < 0.05) from tumor KPSday0 = 19.3 +/- 8.8 microL/min.100 cm3 to KPSday7 = 0 microL/min.100 cm3). K values in the saline-treated tumors did not change significantly. The amount of extravasated albumin-Gd-(DTPA)27-(biotin)11, as assayed by a fluorescently labeled streptavidin stain that strongly binds to the biotin tag on the MMCM, was significantly (P < 0.05) lower in the DMSO-treated cancers than in the control cancers (57.7% +/- 5.5% vs. 34.2% +/- 4.9%). Tumor vascular richness as reflected by the MRI-assayed fPV and by the RECA-1 and lectin-stained microscopy did not change significantly with DMSO or saline treatment.


Reductions in cancer microvascular leakiness induced by a 7-day course of DMSO could be detected and measured by dynamic MMCM-enhanced MRI and were confirmed by microscopic measurements of the leaked macromolecular agents in the same cancers. Results support the robustness of an MMCM-enhanced MRI approach to the characterization of cancers and providing first evidence for an in vivo effect of DMSO on cancer blood vessels.

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