Imaging Lung Cancer by Using Chemical Exchange Saturation Transfer MRI With Retrospective Respiration Gating

Kyle M. Jones, Carol A. Stuehm, Charles C. Hsu, Phillip H. Kuo, Mark D. Pagel, Edward A. Randtke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Performing chemical exchange saturation transfer (CEST) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in lung tissue is difficult because of motion artifacts. We, therefore, developed a CEST MRI acquisition and analysis method that performs retrospective respiration gating. Our method used an acquisition scheme with a short 200-millisecond saturation pulse that can accommodate the timing of the breathing cycle, and with saturation applied at frequencies in 0.03-ppm intervals. The Fourier transform of each image was used to calculate the difference in phase angle between adjacent pixels in the longitudinal direction of the respiratory motion. Additional digital filtering techniques were used to evaluate the breathing cycle, which was used to construct CEST spectra from images during quiescent periods. Results from CEST MRI with and without respiration gating analysis were used to evaluate the asymmetry of the magnetization transfer ratio (MTRasym), a measure of CEST, for an egg white phantom that underwent cyclic motion, in the liver of healthy patients, as well as liver and tumor tissues of patients diagnosed with lung cancer. Retrospective respiration gating analysis produced more precise measurements in all cases with significant motion compared with nongated analysis methods. Finally, a preliminary clinical study with the same respiration-gated CEST MRI method showed a large increase in MTRasym after radiation therapy, a small increase or decrease in MTRasym after chemotherapy, and mixed results with combined chemoradiation therapy. Therefore, our retrospective respiration-gated method can improve CEST MRI evaluations of tumors and organs that are affected by respiratory motion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-210
Number of pages10
JournalTomography (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • lung cancer
  • lung imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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