Objectives: To compare the accuracy of contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) and Dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the assessment of changes in tissue vascularization as result of sorafenib treatment in a rat model of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Methods: Male Buffalo rats with orthotopic liver tumors treated daily with 7.5 mg/kg sorafenib via oral gavage for 2 weeks (n = 9) were subject to DCE-MRI and CEUS 2 weeks after tumor implantation - right before treatment initiation - and also after treatment completion - right before tumor harvest. Untreated animals (n = 10) were used as control. Tumor tissue sections were stained for hematoxylin-eosin, pimonidazole, and CD34 for quantitative assessment of necrosis, hypoxia, and microvessel density (MVD), respectively. Results: Of all the DCE-MRI parameters that were evaluated, only volume transfer constant (Ktrans) measurements were significantly lower in sorafenib-treated tumors (0.18 vs 0.33 min−1, p < 0.01), indicating a substantial decrease in vascular permeability caused by the therapy. This reduction was associated with decreased MVD (3.9 vs 10.8% CD34+ cells, p < 0.01), higher tumor necrosis (31.9 vs 21.8%, p < 0.001) and hypoxia (19.7 vs 10.5% pimonidazole binding, p < 0.01). Moreover, statistical analysis demonstrate significant correlation of DCE-MRI Ktrans with histopathologic tissue necrosis (r = −0.537, p < 0.05) and MVD (r = 0.599, p < 0.05). Interestingly, none of the CEUS measurements were significantly different between the control and treatment groups, and did not show statistical correlation with any of the histopathological parameters assessed (p > 0.05). Conclusions: Sorafenib-induced reduction in vascular permeability in this preclinical model of HCC is detected more accurately through DCE-MRI than CEUS, and DCE-MRI parameters strongly correlate with histopathological changes in tissue vascularization and tissue necrosis.
- Contrast-enhanced functional imaging
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
- Tissue perfusion
- Vascular permeability
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging