Dynamic contrast enhanced (DCE) MR perfusion

Last revised by Andrew Murphy on 2 Apr 2020

Dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MR perfusion, sometimes also referred to as permeability MRI, is one of the main MRI perfusion techniques which calculates perfusion parameters by evaluating T1 shortening induced by a gadolinium-based contrast bolus passing through tissue. The most commonly calculated parameter is k-trans

This technique should not be confused with dynamic susceptibility contrast (DSC) MR perfusion which is sometimes referred to as dynamic susceptibility contrast-enhanced MR perfusion. 

Physics and technique

DCE relies upon the T1-shortening effects of gadolinium-based contrast agents. An intravenous contrast bolus is injected and rapid repeated T1 imaging is obtained. Regional increased signal (T1 shortening) is due to gadolinium concentration which in turn will depend on a number of factors: intravascular gadolinium (i.e. true perfusion), and accumulation of gadolinium in the extravascular space (i.e. permeability) 1

With pharmacokinetic modeling a number of regional values can be derived: 

  1. k-trans (transfer constant)
  2. rate constant 
  3. fractional volume of extravascular-extracellular space
  4. fractional volume of the plasma space

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