There is a great demand for accurate non-invasive measures to better define the natural history of disease progression or treatment outcome in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and to facilitate the inclusion of a large range of participants in DMD clinical trials. This review aims to investigate which MRI sequences and analysis methods have been used and to identify future needs. Medline, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, Inspec, and Compendex databases were searched up to 2 November 2019, using keywords “magnetic resonance imaging” and “Duchenne muscular dystrophy.” The review showed the trend of using T1w and T2w MRI images for semi-qualitative inspection of structural alterations of DMD muscle using a diversity of grading scales, with increasing use of T2map, Dixon, and MR spectroscopy (MRS). High-field (>3T) MRI dominated the studies with animal models. The quantitative MRI techniques have allowed a more precise estimation of local or generalized disease severity. Longitudinal studies assessing the effect of an intervention have also become more prominent, in both clinical and animal model subjects. Quality assessment of the included longitudinal studies was performed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale adapted to comprise bias in selection, comparability, exposure, and outcome. Additional large clinical trials are needed to consolidate research using MRI as a biomarker in DMD and to validate findings against established gold standards. This future work should use a multiparametric and quantitative MRI acquisition protocol, assess the repeatability of measurements, and correlate findings to histologic parameters.
- imaging biomarkers
- systematic literature review