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Quantitative Magnetic Resonance Fingerprinting (MRF) Has Lower Intra-/Inter-Scanner Variability and Higher Contrast-To-Noise-Ratio Vs. Conventional Contrast-Weighted MRI: Implications for Radiomics and Machine-Learning Applications

L Lu1*, Y Chen2 , J Lian1 , D Fried1 , S Das1 , L Marks1 , W Lin2 , T Zhu1 , (1) Dept. Radiation Oncology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA (2) Biomedical Research Imaging Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA


(Tuesday, 7/16/2019) 7:30 AM - 9:30 AM

Room: 225BCD

Purpose: Intra- and inter-scanner variations associated with MRI for radiomics and machine-learning can significantly affect robustness of study results. Using phantom measurements, this study quantitatively assessed intra-/inter-scanner variability and contrast-to-noise-ratio (CNR) of the magnetic resonance fingerprinting (MRF) technique, compared to those with conventional contrast-weighted MRI.

Methods: An MRI phantom with four different concentrations (25%/35%/40%/50%) of polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) solution (that has T1 characteristics similar to brain) was scanned using both conventional MPRAGE T1-weighted and an optimized 3D-MRF sequence. For both sequences, the PVP phantom (at all four PVP concentrations) was scanned five times on each of two 3T scanners to assess for both intra- and inter-scanner variability. For each PVP concentration, the magnitude of the intra- and inter-scanner variability was compared for the original MPRAGE T1-weighted and MRF-T1 MRIs, and between their intensity-normalized counterparts (image intensity was normalized by the mean intensity of the PVP sample of 50% concentration to simulate one of the most commonly used normalization approaches in radiomics/machine-learning). CNRs between different PVP concentrations were also calculated for normalized images.

Results: The intra- and inter-scanner variability of the MRF-T1 map was 2.2%±0.8% and 2.5%±0.5%, respectively; vs. 14%±5.0% and 41%±2.2% for the MPRAGE T1-weighted MRI. Although intensity-normalization did improve MPRAGE T1-weighted MRI intra- (5.3%±3.8%) and inter-scanner variability (3.2%±1.6%), both variability levels were significantly higher (p=0.029), up to 5-fold, compared to the normalized MRF-T1. CNR values of normalized MRF-T1 were, on average, 2~3 times higher than with the normalized T1-weighted MRI. The results were similar at all PVP concentrations.

Conclusion: Compared to conventional contrast-weighted MRI, 3D-MRF demonstrates significantly lower intra-/inter-scanner variability and better CNR. Thus, imaging data from the 3D-MRF technique should be more quantitatively consistent across time/scanners and should facilitate more robust multi-center radiomics and model-based machine-learning.


MRI, Quantitative Imaging, Quality Control


IM/TH- MRI in Radiation Therapy: Development (new technology and techniques)

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