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Magn Reson Med Sci. 2008;7(1):13-21.

Contrast-enhanced MR imaging of metastatic brain tumor at 3 tesla: utility of T(1)-weighted SPACE compared with 2D spin echo and 3D gradient echo sequence.

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Department of Radiology, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya, Japan.


We evaluated the newly developed whole-brain, isotropic, 3-dimensional turbo spin-echo imaging with variable flip angle echo train (SPACE) for contrast-enhanced T(1)-weighted imaging in detecting brain metastases at 3 tesla (T). Twenty-two patients with suspected brain metastases underwent postcontrast study with SPACE, magnetization-prepared rapid gradient-echo (MP-RAGE), and 2-dimensional T(1)-weighted spin echo (2D-SE) imaging at 3T. We quantitatively compared SPACE, MP-RAGE, and 2D-SE images by using signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) for gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) and contrast-to-noise ratios (CNRs) for GM-to-WM, lesion-to-GM, and lesion-to-WM. Two blinded radiologists evaluated the detection of brain metastases by segment-by-segment analysis and continuously-distributed test. The CNR between GM and WM was significantly higher on MP-RAGE images than on SPACE images (P<0.01). The CNRs for lesion-to-GM and lesion-to-WM were significantly higher on SPACE images than on MP-RAGE images (P<0.01). There was no significant difference in each sequence in detection of brain metastases by segment-by-segment analysis and the continuously-distributed test. However, in some cases, the lesions were easier to detect in SPACE images than in other sequences, and also the vascular signals, which sometimes mimic lesions in MP-RAGE and 2D-SE images, were suppressed in SPACE images. In detection of brain metastases at 3T magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, SPACE imaging may provide an effective, alternative approach to MP-RAGE imaging for 3D T(1)-weighted imaging.

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