Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI in oncology: how we do it

Giuseppe Petralia, Paul E. Summers, Andrea Agostini, Roberta Ambrosini, Roberta Cianci, Giulia Cristel, Linda Calistri, Stefano Colagrande

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is particularly attractive for clinical application in perfusion imaging thanks to the absence of ionizing radiation and limited volumes of contrast agent (CA) necessary. Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE–MRI) involves sequentially acquiring T1-weighted images through an organ of interest during the passage of a bolus administration of CA. It is a particularly flexible approach to perfusion imaging as the signal intensity time course allows not only rapid qualitative assessment, but also quantitative measures of intrinsic perfusion and permeability parameters. We examine aspects of the T1-weighted image series acquisition, CA administration, post-processing that constitute a DCE–MRI study in clinical practice, before considering some heuristics that may aid in interpreting the resulting contrast enhancement time series. While qualitative DCE–MRI has a well-established role in the diagnostic assessment of a range of tumours, and a central role in MR mammography, clinical use of quantitative DCE–MRI remains limited outside of clinical trials. The recent publication of proposals for standardized acquisition and analysis protocols for DCE–MRI by the Quantitative Imaging Biomarker Alliance may be an opportunity to consolidate and advance clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1288-1300
Number of pages13
JournalRadiologia Medica
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI
  • MR perfusion imaging
  • MR permeability mapping
  • Quantitative MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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