Preliminary Study of Oxygen-Enhanced Longitudinal Relaxation in MRI: A Potential Novel Biomarker of Oxygenation Changes in Solid Tumors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • John C. Waterton
  • Yvonne Watson
  • Giovanni A. Buonaccorsi
  • Sue Cheung
  • David L. Buckley
  • Deirdre M. McGrath
  • Susan E. Davidson
  • Caleb Roberts
  • Samantha J. Mills
  • Claire L. Mitchell
  • Lynn Hope
  • N. Chan Ton
  • Alan Jackson


Purpose: There is considerable interest in developing non-invasive methods of mapping tumor hypoxia. Changes in tissue oxygen concentration produce proportional changes in the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) longitudinal relaxation rate (R1). This technique has been used previously to evaluate oxygen delivery to healthy tissues and is distinct from blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) imaging. Here we report application of this method to detect alteration in tumor oxygenation status. Methods and materials: Ten patients with advanced cancer of the abdomen and pelvis underwent serial measurement of tumor R1 while breathing medical air (21% oxygen) followed by 100% oxygen (oxygen-enhanced MRI). Gadolinium-based dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI was then performed to compare the spatial distribution of perfusion with that of oxygen-induced ΔR1. Results: ΔR1 showed significant increases of 0.021 to 0.058 s-1 in eight patients with either locally recurrent tumor from cervical and hepatocellular carcinomas or metastases from ovarian and colorectal carcinomas. In general, there was congruency between perfusion and oxygen concentration. However, regional mismatch was observed in some tumor cores. Here, moderate gadolinium uptake (consistent with moderate perfusion) was associated with low area under the ΔR1 curve (consistent with minimal increase in oxygen concentration). Conclusions: These results provide evidence that oxygen-enhanced longitudinal relaxation can monitor changes in tumor oxygen concentration. The technique shows promise in identifying hypoxic regions within tumors and may enable spatial mapping of change in tumor oxygen concentration. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Pages (from-to)1209-1215
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation: Oncology - Biology - Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2009