Experimental evidence supports an association between heterogeneity in tumor perfusion and response to chemotherapy/radiotherapy, disease progression and malignancy. Therefore, changes in tumor perfusion may be used to assess early effects of tumor treatment. However, evaluating changes in tumor perfusion during treatment is complicated by extensive changes in tumor type, size, shape and appearance. Therefore, this study assesses the regional heterogeneity of tumors by dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) and evaluates changes in response to isolated limb perfusion (ILP) with tumor necrosis factor alpha and melphalan. Data were acquired in an experimental cancer model, using a macromolecular contrast medium, albumin-(Gd-DTPA)45. Small fragments of BN 175 (a soft-tissue sarcoma) were implanted in eight brown Norway rats. MRI of five drug-treated and three sham-treated rats was performed at baseline and 1 h after ILP intervention. Properly co-registered baseline and follow-up DCE-MRI were used to estimate the volume transfer constant (Ktrans) pharmacokinetic maps. The regional heterogeneity was estimated in 16 tumor sectors and presented in cumulative map-volume histograms. On average, ILP-treated tumors showed a decrease in regional heterogeneity on the histograms. This study shows that heterogenic changes in regional tumor perfusion, estimated using DCE-MRI pharmacokinetic maps, can be measured and used to assess the short-term effects of a potentially curative treatment on the tumor microvasculature in an experimental soft-tissue sarcoma model.
- Dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging
- Isolated limb perfusion
- Soft-tissue sarcoma treatment
- Tumor heterogeneity