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1.  Average arterial input function for quantitative dynamic contrast enhanced magnetic resonance imaging of neck nodal metastases 
Background
The present study determines the feasibility of generating an average arterial input function (Avg-AIF) from a limited population of patients with neck nodal metastases to be used for pharmacokinetic modeling of dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) data in clinical trials of larger populations.
Methods
Twenty patients (mean age 50 years [range 27–77 years]) with neck nodal metastases underwent pretreatment DCE-MRI studies with a temporal resolution of 3.75 to 7.5 sec on a 1.5T clinical MRI scanner. Eleven individual AIFs (Ind-AIFs) met the criteria of expected enhancement pattern and were used to generate Avg-AIF. Tofts model was used to calculate pharmacokinetic DCE-MRI parameters. Bland-Altman plots and paired Student t-tests were used to describe significant differences between the pharmacokinetic parameters obtained from individual and average AIFs.
Results
Ind-AIFs obtained from eleven patients were used to calculate the Avg-AIF. No overall significant difference (bias) was observed for the transfer constant (Ktrans) measured with Ind-AIFs compared to Avg-AIF (p = 0.20 for region-of-interest (ROI) analysis and p = 0.18 for histogram median analysis). Similarly, no overall significant difference was observed for interstitial fluid space volume fraction (ve) measured with Ind-AIFs compared to Avg-AIF (p = 0.48 for ROI analysis and p = 0.93 for histogram median analysis). However, the Bland-Altman plot suggests that as Ktrans increases, the Ind-AIF estimates tend to become proportionally higher than the Avg-AIF estimates.
Conclusion
We found no statistically significant overall bias in Ktrans or ve estimates derived from Avg-AIF, generated from a limited population, as compared with Ind-AIFs.
However, further study is needed to determine whether calibration is needed across the range of Ktrans. The Avg-AIF obtained from a limited population may be used for pharmacokinetic modeling of DCE-MRI data in larger population studies with neck nodal metastases. Further validation of the Avg-AIF approach with a larger population and in multiple regions is desirable.
doi:10.1186/1756-6649-9-4
PMCID: PMC2679707  PMID: 19351382

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