Magnetization transfer (MT) provides an indirect means to detect noninvasively variations in macromolecular contents in biological tissues, but, so far, there have been only a few quantitative MT (qMT) studies reported in cancer, all of which used off-resonance pulsed saturation methods. This article describes the first implementation of a different qMT approach, selective inversion recovery (SIR), for the characterization of tumor in vivo using a rodent glioma model. The SIR method is an on-resonance method capable of fitting qMT parameters and T1 relaxation time simultaneously without mapping B0 and B1 , which is very suitable for high-field qMT measurements because of the lower saturation absorption rate. The results show that the average pool size ratio (PSR, the macromolecular pool versus the free water pool) in rat 9 L glioma (5.7%) is significantly lower than that in normal rat gray matter (9.2%) and white matter (17.4%), which suggests that PSR is potentially a sensitive imaging biomarker for the assessment of brain tumor. Despite being less robust, the estimated MT exchange rates also show clear differences from normal tissues (19.7 Hz for tumors versus 14.8 and 10.2 Hz for gray and white mater, respectively). In addition, the influence of confounding effects, e.g. B1 inhomogeneity, on qMT parameter estimates is investigated with numerical simulations. These findings not only help to better understand the changes in the macromolecular contents of tumors, but are also important for the interpretation of other imaging contrasts, such as chemical exchange saturation transfer of tumors.
Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.