BOLD contrast fMRI of whole rodent tumour during air or carbogen breathing using echo-planar imaging at 1.5 T

W. Landuyt, R. Hermans, H. Bosmans, S. Sunaert, E. Béatse, D. Farina, M. Meijerink, H. Zhang, W. Van Den Bogaert, P. Lambin, G. Marchal

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The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of functional MR imaging (fMRI) at 1.5 T, exploiting blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) contrast, for detecting changes in whole-tumour oxygenation induced by carbogen (5% CO2+95% O2) inhalation of the host. Adult WAG/Rij rats with rhabdomyosarcomas growing subcutaneously in the lower flank were imaged when tumours reached sizes between 1 and 11 cm3 (n = 12). Air and carbogen were alternatively supplied at 2 1/min using a snout mask. Imaging was done on a 1.5-T MR scanner using a T2*-weighted gradient-echo, echo-planar imaging (GE-EPI) sequence. Analysis of the whole-tumour EPI images was based on statistical parametric maps. Voxels with and without signal intensity changes (SIC) were recorded. Significance thresholds were set at p < 0.05, corrected for multiple comparisons. In continuous air breathing condition, 3 of 12 tumours showed significant negative SIC and 1 tumour had a clear-cut positive SIC. The remaining tumours showed very little or no change. When switching to carbogen breathing, the SIC were significantly positive in 10 of 12 tumours. Negative SIC were present in 4 tumours, of which three were simultaneously characterised by positive SIC. The overall analysis indicated that 6 of the 12 tumours could be considered as strong positive responders to carbogen. Our research demonstrates the applicability of fMRI GE-EPI at 1.5 T to study whole-tumour oxygenation non-invasively. The observed negative SIC during air condition may reflect the presence of transient hypoxia during these measurements. Selection of tumours on the basis of their individual response to carbogen is possible, indicating a role of such non-invasive measurements for using tailor-made treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2332-2340
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


  • Carbogen
  • Hypoxia
  • Radiotherapy
  • Tumour imaging
  • Tumour oxygenation

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