Arterial spin labeling blood flow magnetic resonance imaging for the characterization of metastatic renal cell carcinoma

Cedric De Bazelaire, Neil M. Rofsky, Guillaume Duhamel, M. Dror Michaelson, Daniel George, David C. Alsop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objective. This study sought to assess the feasibility of arterial spin labeling (ASL) blood flow (BF) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the study of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) in the body, where the respiratory, cardiac, and peristaltic motions present challenges when applying ASL. Materials and Methods. ASL was performed using a background-suppressed single-section flow-alternating inversion recovery (FAIR) preparation and a single-shot fast spin-echo imaging sequence on a 3.0-T whole body imager. Tumor BF was evaluated for 26 patients with RCC metastatic to the liver, bone, lung, or lymph nodes before VEGF receptor inhibitor therapy. Two cases with tumor size change after treatment were also scanned 1 month after therapy. For validation, kidney cortex BF in five normal volunteers was measured with the same technique and compared with literature values. Results. ASL was successfully performed in all normal volunteers and in 20 of 26 patients. The six failures resulted from a systematic error, which can be avoided in future studies. For normal volunteers, measured kidney cortex BF was 275 ± 14 mL/min/100 g, a value consistent with the literature. ASL determined tumor BF averaged across tumor volume and subjects was 194 mL/min/100 g (intersubject SD = 100), resulting in high perfusion signal and conspicuity of lesions. Bright signal was also seen in large vessels and occasionally in bowel. In the two cases studied 1 month after therapy, ASL perfusion changes were consistent with tumor size changes. Conclusion. With background suppression, ASL MRI is a feasible method for quantifying BF in patients with renal cell carcinoma. This technique may be useful for evaluating tumor response to antiangiogenic agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-357
Number of pages11
JournalAcademic Radiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Antiangiogenesis
  • Arterial spin labelling
  • Blood flow
  • MRI
  • Renal cell carcinoma


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