Magnetic resonance quantitative susceptibility mapping in the evaluation of hepatic fibrosis in chronic liver disease: A feasibility study

Zheng Qu, Shuohui Yang, Feng Xing, Rui Tong, Chenyao Yang, Rongfang Guo, Jiling Huang, Fang Lu, Caixia Fu, Xu Yan, Stefanie Hectors, Kelly Gillen, Yi Wang, Chenghai Liu, Songhua Zhan, Jianqi Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Noninvasive methods for the early diagnosis and staging of hepatic fibrosis are needed. The present study aimed to investigate the alteration of magnetic susceptibility in the liver of patients with various fibrosis stages and to evaluate the feasibility of using susceptibility to stage hepatic fibrosis. Methods: A total of 30 consecutive patients with chronic liver diseases (CLDs) underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and liver biopsy evaluation of hepatic fibrosis, necroinflammatory activity, iron load, and steatosis. Quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM), R2∗ and proton density fat fraction (PDFF) images were postprocessed from the same gradient-echo data for quantitative tissue characterization using region of interest (ROI) analysis. The differences for MRI measurements between cohorts of non-significant (Ishak-F <3) and significant fibrosis (Ishak-F ≥3) and the correlation of MRI measurements with fibrosis stages and necroinflammatory activity grades were tested. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was also performed. Results: There was a significant difference in liver susceptibility between the cohorts of significant and non-significant fibrosis (Z=-2.880, P=0.004). A moderate negative correlation between the stages of liver fibrosis and liver susceptibility was observed (r=-0.471, P=0.015). Liver magnetic susceptibility differentiated non-significant from significant hepatic fibrosis with an area under the receiver operating curve (AUC) of 0.836 (P=0.004). A highly sensitive diagnostic performance with an AUC of 0.933 was obtained using magnetic susceptibility and PDFF together (P<0.001). Conclusions: A noninvasive liver QSM-based evaluation promises an accurate assessment of significant fibrosis in patients with CLDs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1170-1183
Number of pages14
JournalQuantitative Imaging in Medicine and Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic liver disease (CLD)
  • Fibrosis; liver
  • Quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM)


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