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In Scientific reports ; h5-index 158.0

Saturation transfer MRI can be useful in the characterization of different tumour types. It is sensitive to tumour metabolism, microstructure, and microenvironment. This study aimed to use saturation transfer to differentiate between intratumoural regions, demarcate tumour boundaries, and reduce data acquisition times by identifying the imaging scheme with the most impact on segmentation accuracy. Saturation transfer-weighted images were acquired over a wide range of saturation amplitudes and frequency offsets along with T1 and T2 maps for 34 tumour xenografts in mice. Independent component analysis and Gaussian mixture modelling were used to segment the images and identify intratumoural regions. Comparison between the segmented regions and histopathology indicated five distinct clusters: three corresponding to intratumoural regions (active tumour, necrosis/apoptosis, and blood/edema) and two extratumoural (muscle and a mix of muscle and connective tissue). The fraction of tumour voxels segmented as necrosis/apoptosis quantitatively matched those calculated from TUNEL histopathological assays. An optimal protocol was identified providing reasonable qualitative agreement between MRI and histopathology and consisting of T1 and T2 maps and 22 magnetization transfer (MT)-weighted images. A three-image subset was identified that resulted in a greater than 90% match in positive and negative predictive value of tumour voxels compared to those found using the entire 24-image dataset. The proposed algorithm can potentially be used to develop a robust intratumoural segmentation method.

Lam Wilfred W, Oakden Wendy, Karami Elham, Koletar Margaret M, Murray Leedan, Liu Stanley K, Sadeghi-Naini Ali, Stanisz Greg J