The standard pharmacokinetic model applied to contrast reagent (CR) bolus-tracking (B-T) MRI (dynamic-contrast-enhanced) data makes the intrinsic assumption that equilibrium transcytolemmal water molecule exchange is effectively infinitely fast. Theory and simulation have suggested that this assumption can lead to significant errors. Recent analyses of animal model experimental data have confirmed two predicted signature inadequacies: a specific temporal mismatch with the B-T time-course and a CR dose-dependent underestimation of model parameters. The most parsimonious adjustment to account for this aspect leads to the "shutter-speed" pharmacokinetic model. Application of the latter to the animal model data mostly eliminates the two signature inadequacies. Here, the standard and shutter-speed models are applied to B-T data obtained from routine human breast examinations. The signature standard model temporal mismatch is found for each of the three invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) cases and for each of the three fibroadenoma (FA) cases studied. It is effectively eliminated by use of the shutter-speed model. The size of the mismatch is considerably greater for the IDC lesions than for the FA lesions, causing the shutter-speed model to exhibit improved discrimination of malignant IDC tumors from the benign FA lesions compared with the standard model. Furthermore, the shutter-speed model clearly reveals focal "hot spots" of elevated CR perfusion/permeation present in only the malignant tumors.
(c) 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.