Diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) as a non-invasive, tissue cellularity marker to monitor cancer treatment response

Frederikke Petrine Fliedner, Trine Bjørnbo Engel, Henrik H El-Ali, Anders Elias Hansen, Andreas Kjaer


BACKGROUND: Diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) holds great potential for monitoring treatment response in cancer patients shortly after initiation of radiotherapy. It is hypothesized that a decrease in cellular density of irradiated cancerous tissue will lead to an increase in quantitative apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values. DW-MRI can therefore serve as a non-invasive marker of cell death and apoptosis in response to treatment. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the applicability of DW-MRI in preclinical models to monitor radiation-induced treatment response. In addition, we compared DW-MRI with ex vivo measures of cell density, cell death and apoptosis.

METHODS: DW-MRI was tested in two different syngeneic mouse models, a colorectal cancer (CT26) and a breast cancer (4 T1). ADC values were compared with quantitative determinations of apoptosis and cell death by flow cytometry. Furthermore, ADC-values were also compared to histological measurement of cell density on tumor sections.

RESULTS: We found a significant correlation between ADC-values and apoptotic state in the CT26 model (P = 0.0031). A strong correlation between the two measurements of ADC-value and apoptotic state was found in both models, which were also present when comparing ADC-values to cell densities.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate that DW-MRI can be used for non-invasive monitoring of radiation-induced changes in cell state during cancer therapy. ADC values reflect ex vivo cell density and correlates well with apoptotic state, and can hereby be described as a marker for the cell state after therapy and used as a non-invasive response marker.

TidsskriftBMC Cancer
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)134
StatusUdgivet - 19 feb. 2020


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