Intrinsic susceptibility imaging and immunohistochemistry analysis were used to validate a combined endpoint of oxygen enhancement plus MR-derived perfusion as a biomarker of tumor hypoxia in mouse and patient studies.
To cross-validate T1-weighted oxygen-enhanced (OE) MRI measurements of tumor hypoxia with intrinsic susceptibility MRI measurements and to demonstrate the feasibility of translation of the technique for patients.
Materials and Methods
Preclinical studies in nine 786–0-R renal cell carcinoma (RCC) xenografts and prospective clinical studies in eight patients with RCC were performed. Longitudinal relaxation rate changes (∆R1) after 100% oxygen inhalation were quantified, reflecting the paramagnetic effect on tissue protons because of the presence of molecular oxygen. Native transverse relaxation rate (R2*) and oxygen-induced R2* change (∆R2*) were measured, reflecting presence of deoxygenated hemoglobin molecules. Median and voxel-wise values of ∆R1 were compared with values of R2* and ∆R2*. Tumor regions with dynamic contrast agent–enhanced MRI perfusion, refractory to signal change at OE MRI (referred to as perfused Oxy-R), were distinguished from perfused oxygen-enhancing (perfused Oxy-E) and nonperfused regions. R2* and ∆R2* values in each tumor subregion were compared by using one-way analysis of variance.
Tumor-wise and voxel-wise ∆R1 and ∆R2* comparisons did not show correlative relationships. In xenografts, parcellation analysis revealed that perfused Oxy-R regions had faster native R2* (102.4 sec–1 vs 81.7 sec–1) and greater negative ∆R2* (−22.9 sec–1 vs −5.4 sec–1), compared with perfused Oxy-E and nonperfused subregions (all P < .001), respectively. Similar findings were present in human tumors (P < .001). Further, perfused Oxy-R helped identify tumor hypoxia, measured at pathologic analysis, in both xenografts (P = .002) and human tumors (P = .003).
Intrinsic susceptibility biomarkers provide cross validation of the OE MRI biomarker perfused Oxy-R. Consistent relationship to pathologic analyses was found in xenografts and human tumors, demonstrating biomarker translation.