Quantifying differences in hepatic uptake of the liver specific contrast agents Gd-EOB-DTPA and Gd-BOPTA: a pilot study

O Dahlqvist Leinhard, N Dahlström, J Kihlberg, P Sandström, T B Brismar, O Smedby, P Lundberg
European Radiology 2012, 22 (3): 642-53

OBJECTIVES: To develop and evaluate a procedure for quantifying the hepatocyte-specific uptake of Gd-BOPTA and Gd-EOB-DTPA using dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MRI.

METHODS: Ten healthy volunteers were prospectively recruited and 21 patients with suspected hepatobiliary disease were retrospectively evaluated. All subjects were examined with DCE-MRI using 0.025 mmol/kg of Gd-EOB-DTPA. The healthy volunteers underwent an additional examination using 0.05 mmol/kg of Gd-BOPTA. The signal intensities (SI) of liver and spleen parenchyma were obtained from unenhanced and enhanced acquisitions. Using pharmacokinetic models of the liver and spleen, and an SI rescaling procedure, a hepatic uptake rate, K (Hep), estimate was derived. The K (Hep) values for Gd-EOB-DTPA were then studied in relation to those for Gd-BOPTA and to a clinical classification of the patient's hepatobiliary dysfunction.

RESULTS: K (Hep) estimated using Gd-EOB-DTPA showed a significant Pearson correlation with K (Hep) estimated using Gd-BOPTA (r = 0.64; P < 0.05) in healthy subjects. Patients with impaired hepatobiliary function had significantly lower K (Hep) than patients with normal hepatobiliary function (K (Hep) = 0.09 ± 0.05 min(-1) versus K (Hep) = 0.24 ± 0.10 min(-1); P < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: A new procedure for quantifying the hepatocyte-specific uptake of T (1)-enhancing contrast agent was demonstrated and used to show that impaired hepatobiliary function severely influences the hepatic uptake of Gd-EOB-DTPA.

KEY POINTS: • The liver uptake of contrast agents may be measured with standard clinical MRI. • Calculation of liver contrast agent uptake is improved by considering splenic uptake. • Liver function affects the uptake of the liver-specific contrast agent Gd-EOB-DTPA. • Hepatic uptake of two contrast agents (Gd-EOB-DTPA, Gd-BOPTA) is correlated in healthy individuals. • This method can be useful for determining liver function, e.g. before hepatic surgery.

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