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Cancer Inform. 2011;10:227-32. doi: 10.4137/CIN.S7833. Epub 2011 Aug 31.

Cellular Imaging Using Equivalent Cross-Relaxation Rate Technique in Rabbit VX-2 Tumor Model.

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Department of Radiology, Nara Medical University, Japan.



Equivalent cross-relaxation rate (ECR) imaging (ECRI) is a measurement technique that can be used to quantitatively evaluate changes in structural organization and cellular density by MRI. The aim of this study was to evaluate the correlation between the ECR value and cellular density in the rabbit VX2 tumor model.


Five rabbits implanted with 10 VX2 tumors in the femur muscles were included in this study. We adopted the off-resonance technique with a single saturation transfer pulse frequency of 7 ppm downfield from water resonance. The ECR value was defined as the percentage of signal loss between the unsaturated and saturated images. ECR images were constructed based on the percentage of the ECR value. Pathological specimens were divided into 34 areas and classified into two groups: the viable group and the necrotic group. ECR values were measured and compared between groups. The correlation between the ECR value and cellular density was then determined.


The mean ECR value was significantly higher in the viable group than in the necrotic group (61.2% vs. 35.8%). The area under the curve that calculated by receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.991 at 7 ppm. The regression graph showed a linear relationship between the ECR value and cellular density; the correlation coefficient (r) was 0.858.


There is a strong association between the ECR value and cellular density in VX2 tumors and so ECRI could be a potentially useful technique for accurately depicting viable and necrotic areas.


MR imaging; VX2 tumor; cellular imaging; equivalent cross relaxation rate

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