A linear algorithm of the reference region model for DCE-MRI is robust and relaxes requirements for temporal resolution

Julio Cárdenas-Rodríguez, Christine M. Howison, Mark D. Pagel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Dynamic contrast enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) has utility for improving clinical diagnoses of solid tumors, and for evaluating the early responses of anti-angiogenic chemotherapies. The Reference Region Model (RRM) can improve the clinical implementation of DCE-MRI by substituting the contrast enhancement of muscle for the Arterial Input Function that is used in traditional DCE-MRI methodologies. The RRM is typically fitted to experimental results with a non-linear least squares algorithm. This report demonstrates that this algorithm produces inaccurate and imprecise results when DCE-MRI results have low SNR or slow temporal resolution. To overcome this limitation, a linear least-squares algorithm has been derived for the Reference Region Model. This new algorithm improves accuracy and precision of fitting the Reference Region Model to DCE-MRI results, especially for voxel-wise analyses. This linear algorithm is insensitive to injection speeds, and has 300- to 8000-fold faster calculation speed relative to the non-linear algorithm. The linear algorithm produces more accurate results for over a wider range of permeabilities and blood volumes of tumor vasculature. This new algorithm, termed the Linear Reference Region Model, has strong potential to improve clinical DCE-MRI evaluations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-507
Number of pages11
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Dynamic contrast enhanced MRI
  • Gd-DTPA
  • Linear models
  • Permeability
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Reference region model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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