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Med Phys. 2018 Jan;45(1):37-47. doi: 10.1002/mp.12670. Epub 2017 Dec 10.

Quantification of MRI visibility and artifacts at 3T of liquid fiducial marker in a pancreas tissue-mimicking phantom.

Author information

Institute of Radiooncology - OncoRay, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Dresden, Germany.
OncoRay - National Center for Radiation Research in Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, Technische Universität Dresden, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Dresden, Germany.
Nanovi Radiotherapy A/S, DK-2800, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark.
Department of Micro- and Nanotechnology, Center for Nanomedicine and Theranostics, Technical University of Denmark, Building 423, DK-2800, Kongens. Lyngby, Denmark.
Department of Radiotherapy and Radiation Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany.
German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), partner site Dresden, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany.
National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT), partner site Dresden, Dresden, Germany.



X-ray-based position verification of the target volume in image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) of patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is currently performed on solid fiducial markers that are implanted under endoscopic ultrasonography. A new biodegradable liquid fiducial marker has recently been introduced. To assess its potential use for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided photon or proton radiotherapy of PDAC, the MRI visibility and artifacts of this marker were quantified and compared against solid gold markers.


Different spherical volumes (10 μL, 25 μL, 50 μL, and 100 μL) of a biodegradable liquid fiducial marker as well as seven differently sized and oriented solid gold (0.35 mm diameter; 5 mm and 10 mm length) and iron-gold alloy fiducial markers (0.28 mm diameter; 1 cm and 2 cm length) were implanted in a spherical gel phantom, mimicking the proton spin relaxation properties of healthy pancreatic tissue at 3 Tesla. MR relaxometry was performed to quantify the size and magnitude of the decrease in the effective transversal relaxation time T2∗ and relative proton density ρ(H) as a measure of potential visibility and to quantify the size and magnitude of the increase in magnetic field inhomogeneity ΔB0 as a measure of potential signal artifacts. The phantom was scanned in a 3.0 T PET/MR scanner with an eight-channel head coil.


The solid fiducial markers showed a direct linear relationship between the potentially visible size and artifact size. The liquid fiducial marker showed a tendency toward a potentially visible size at smaller artifacts. Liquid markers from 25 to 100 μL generated visible volumes comparable to the size of the solid markers. The magnitude of visibility was the highest for the liquid fiducial marker with volumes of 25-100 μL showing no correlation with the magnitude of artifact. The solid markers showed a strong nonlinear correlation between magnitude of visibility and artifact, whereas the solid marker consisting of a gold-iron alloy induced the strongest artifacts.


The liquid fiducial marker causes signal voids on MRI due to its absence of water hydrogen atoms without strongly affecting the magnetic field in the surrounding tissue. The alteration of the static magnetic field was found to be the main effect leading to the visibility of the solid fiducial markers. Hence, especially when a low level of image distortion is required, MRI characteristics of the liquid marker surpass those of solid gold markers currently being used for IGRT of PDAC.


MRI ; artifacts; fiducial marker; image-guided radiation therapy; visibility

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