Tomography, Volume 7, Issue 1 (March 2021) – 8 articles

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Open AccessReview
Dynamic Contrast Enhanced-MR CEST Urography: An Emerging Tool in the Diagnosis and Management of Upper Urinary Tract Obstruction
Tomography 2021, 7(1), 80-94; https://doi.org/10.3390/tomography7010008 - 02 Mar 2021
Abstract
Upper urinary tract obstructions (UTOs) are blockages that inhibit the flow of urine through its normal course, leading to impaired kidney function. Imaging plays a significant role in the initial diagnosis of UTO, with anatomic imaging (primarily ultrasound (US) and non-contrast computed tomography [...] Read more.
Upper urinary tract obstructions (UTOs) are blockages that inhibit the flow of urine through its normal course, leading to impaired kidney function. Imaging plays a significant role in the initial diagnosis of UTO, with anatomic imaging (primarily ultrasound (US) and non-contrast computed tomography (CT)) serving as screening tools for the detection of the dilation of the urinary collecting systems (i.e., hydronephrosis). Whether hydronephrosis represents UTO or a non-obstructive process is determined by functional imaging (typically nuclear medicine renal scintigraphy). If these exams reveal evidence of UTO but no discernable source, multiphase contrast enhanced CT urography and/or dynamic contrast enhanced MR urography (DCE-MRU) may be performed to delineate a cause. These are often performed in conjunction with direct ureteroscopic evaluation. While contrast-enhanced CT currently predominates, it can induce renal injury due to contrast induced nephropathy (CIN), subject patients to ionizing radiation and is limited in quantifying renal function (traditionally assessed by renal scintigraphy) and establishing the extent to which hydronephrosis is due to functional obstruction. Traditional MRI is similarly limited in its ability to quantify function. DCE-MRU presents concerns regarding nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF), although decreased with newer gadolinium-based contrast agents, and regarding cumulative gadolinium deposition in the basal ganglia. DCE-MR CEST urography is a promising alternative, employing new MRI contrast agents and imaging schemes and allowing for concurrent assessment of renal anatomy and functional parameters. In this review we highlight clinical challenges in the diagnosis and management of UTO, identify key advances in imaging agents and techniques for DCE-MR CEST urography and provide perspective on how this technique may evolve in clinical importance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Respiratory Motion Mitigation and Repeatability of Two Diffusion-Weighted MRI Methods Applied to a Murine Model of Spontaneous Pancreatic Cancer
Tomography 2021, 7(1), 66-79; https://doi.org/10.3390/tomography7010007 - 20 Feb 2021
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Abstract
Respiratory motion and increased susceptibility effects at high magnetic fields pose challenges for quantitative diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) of a mouse abdomen on preclinical MRI systems. We demonstrate the first application of radial k-space-sampled (RAD) DWI of a mouse abdomen using a genetically engineered [...] Read more.
Respiratory motion and increased susceptibility effects at high magnetic fields pose challenges for quantitative diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) of a mouse abdomen on preclinical MRI systems. We demonstrate the first application of radial k-space-sampled (RAD) DWI of a mouse abdomen using a genetically engineered mouse model of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) on a 4.7 T preclinical scanner equipped with moderate gradient capability. RAD DWI was compared with the echo-planar imaging (EPI)-based DWI method with similar voxel volumes and acquisition times over a wide range of b-values (0.64, 535, 1071, 1478, and 2141 mm2/s). The repeatability metrics are assessed in a rigorous test–retest study (n = 10 for each DWI protocol). The four-shot EPI DWI protocol leads to higher signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in diffusion-weighted images with persisting ghosting artifacts, whereas the RAD DWI protocol produces relatively artifact-free images over all b-values examined. Despite different degrees of motion mitigation, both RAD DWI and EPI DWI allow parametric maps of apparent diffusion coefficients (ADC) to be produced, and the ADC of the PDAC tumor estimated by the two methods are 1.3 ± 0.24 and 1.5 ± 0.28 × 10−3 mm2/s, respectively (p = 0.075, n = 10), and those of a water phantom are 3.2 ± 0.29 and 2.8 ± 0.15 × 10−3 mm2/s, respectively (p = 0.001, n = 10). Bland-Altman plots and probability density function reveal good repeatability for both protocols, whose repeatability metrics do not differ significantly. In conclusion, RAD DWI enables a more effective respiratory motion mitigation but lower SNR, while the performance of EPI DWI is expected to improve with more advanced gradient hardware. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Publisher’s Note: Continued Publication of Tomography by MDPI
Tomography 2021, 7(1), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/tomography7010006 - 09 Feb 2021
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Abstract
Tomography was launched in 2015 and has published international and multidisciplinary research on all aspects of imaging science, spanning from basic research to clinical trials [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Identifying Robust Radiomics Features for Lung Cancer by Using In-Vivo and Phantom Lung Lesions
Tomography 2021, 7(1), 55-64; https://doi.org/10.3390/tomography7010005 - 09 Feb 2021
Viewed by 236
Abstract
We propose a novel framework for determining radiomics feature robustness by considering the effects of both biological and noise signals. This framework is preliminarily tested in a study predicting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation status in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) [...] Read more.
We propose a novel framework for determining radiomics feature robustness by considering the effects of both biological and noise signals. This framework is preliminarily tested in a study predicting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation status in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Pairs of CT images (baseline, 3-week post therapy) of 46 NSCLC patients with known EGFR mutation status were collected and a FDA-customized anthropomorphic thoracic phantom was scanned on two vendors’ scanners at four different tube currents. Delta radiomics features were extracted from the NSCLC patient CTs and reproducible, non-redundant, and informative features were identified. The feature value differences between EGFR mutant and EGFR wildtype patients were quantitatively measured as the biological signal. Similarly, radiomics features were extracted from the phantom CTs. A pairwise comparison between settings resulted in a feature value difference that was quantitatively measured as the noise signal. Biological signals were compared to noise signals at each setting to determine if the distributions were significantly different by two-sample t-test, and thus robust. Four optimal features were selected to predict EGFR mutation status, Tumor-Mass, Sigmoid-Offset-Mean, Gabor-Energy and DWT-Energy, which quantified tumor mass, tumor-parenchyma density transition at boundary, line-like pattern inside tumor and intratumoral heterogeneity, respectively. The first three variables showed robustness across the majority of studied CT acquisition parameters. The textual feature DWT-Energy was less robust. The proposed framework was able to determine robustness of radiomics features at specific settings by comparing biological signal to noise signal. Identification of robust radiomics features may improve the generalizability of radiomics models in future studies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A System-Agnostic, Adaptable and Extensible Animal Support Cradle System for Cardio-Respiratory-Synchronised, and Other, Multi-Modal Imaging of Small Animals
Tomography 2021, 7(1), 39-54; https://doi.org/10.3390/tomography7010004 - 07 Feb 2021
Viewed by 282
Abstract
Standardisation of animal handling procedures for a wide range of preclinical imaging scanners will improve imaging performance and reproducibility of scientific data. Whilst there has been significant effort in defining how well scanners should operate and how in vivo experimentation should be practised, [...] Read more.
Standardisation of animal handling procedures for a wide range of preclinical imaging scanners will improve imaging performance and reproducibility of scientific data. Whilst there has been significant effort in defining how well scanners should operate and how in vivo experimentation should be practised, there is little detail on how to achieve optimal scanner performance with best practices in animal welfare. Here, we describe a system-agnostic, adaptable and extensible animal support cradle system for cardio-respiratory-synchronised, and other, multi-modal imaging of small animals. The animal support cradle can be adapted on a per application basis and features integrated tubing for anaesthetic and tracer delivery, an electrically driven rectal temperature maintenance system and respiratory and cardiac monitoring. Through a combination of careful material and device selection, we have described an approach that allows animals to be transferred whilst under general anaesthesia between any of the tomographic scanners we currently or have previously operated. The set-up is minimally invasive, cheap and easy to implement and for multi-modal, multi-vendor imaging of small animals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Systematic Assessment of the Impact of DTI Methodology on Fractional Anisotropy Measures in Alzheimer’s Disease
Tomography 2021, 7(1), 20-38; https://doi.org/10.3390/tomography7010003 - 06 Feb 2021
Viewed by 318
Abstract
White matter microstructural changes in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are often assessed using fractional anisotropy (FA) obtained from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). FA depends on the acquisition and analysis methods, including the fitting algorithm. In this study, we compared FA maps from different acquisitions [...] Read more.
White matter microstructural changes in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are often assessed using fractional anisotropy (FA) obtained from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). FA depends on the acquisition and analysis methods, including the fitting algorithm. In this study, we compared FA maps from different acquisitions and fitting algorithms in AD, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and healthy controls (HCs) using the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) database. Three acquisitions from two vendors were compared (Siemens 30, GE 48, and Siemens 54 directions). DTI data were fit using nine fitting algorithms (four linear least squares (LLS), two weighted LLS (WLLS), and three non-linear LLS (NLLS) from four software tools (FSL, DSI-Studio, CAMINO, and AFNI). Different cluster volumes and effect-sizes were observed across acquisitions and fits, but higher consistency was observed as the number of diffusion directions increased. Significant differences were observed between HC and AD groups for all acquisitions, while significant differences between HC and MCI groups were only observed for GE48 and SI54. Using the intraclass correlation coefficient, AFNI–LLS and CAMINO–RESTORE were the least consistent with the other algorithms. By combining data across all three acquisitions and nine fits, differences between AD and HC/MCI groups were observed in the fornix and corpus callosum, indicating FA differences in these regions may be robust DTI-based biomarkers. This study demonstrates that comparisons of FA across aging populations could be confounded by variability in acquisitions and fit methodologies and that identifying the most robust DTI methodology is critical to provide more reliable DTI-based neuroimaging biomarkers for assessing microstructural changes in AD. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Prediction of Disease Free Survival in Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Cancers Using CT Perfusion and Radiomic Features: A Pilot Study
Tomography 2021, 7(1), 10-19; https://doi.org/10.3390/tomography7010002 - 05 Feb 2021
Viewed by 331
Abstract
(1) Purpose: The objective was to evaluate CT perfusion and radiomic features for prediction of one year disease free survival in laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer. (2) Method and Materials: This retrospective study included pre and post therapy CT neck studies in 36 patients [...] Read more.
(1) Purpose: The objective was to evaluate CT perfusion and radiomic features for prediction of one year disease free survival in laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer. (2) Method and Materials: This retrospective study included pre and post therapy CT neck studies in 36 patients with laryngeal/hypopharyngeal cancer. Tumor contouring was performed semi-autonomously by the computer and manually by two radiologists. Twenty-six radiomic features including morphological and gray-level features were extracted by an internally developed and validated computer-aided image analysis system. The five perfusion features analyzed included permeability surface area product (PS), blood flow (flow), blood volume (BV), mean transit time (MTT), and time-to-maximum (Tmax). One year persistent/recurrent disease data were obtained following the final treatment of definitive chemoradiation or after total laryngectomy. We performed a two-loop leave-one-out feature selection and linear discriminant analysis classifier with generation of receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves and confidence intervals (CI). (3) Results: 10 patients (28%) had recurrence/persistent disease at 1 year. For prediction, the change in blood flow demonstrated a training AUC of 0.68 (CI 0.47–0.85) and testing AUC of 0.66 (CI 0.47–0.85). The best features selected were a combination of perfusion and radiomic features including blood flow and computer-estimated percent volume changes-training AUC of 0.68 (CI 0.5–0.85) and testing AUC of 0.69 (CI 0.5–0.85). The laryngoscopic percent change in volume was a poor predictor with a testing AUC of 0.4 (CI 0.16–0.57). (4) Conclusions: A combination of CT perfusion and radiomic features are potential predictors of one-year disease free survival in laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer patients. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Design and Implementation of the Pre-Clinical DICOM Standard in Multi-Cohort Murine Studies
Tomography 2021, 7(1), 1-9; https://doi.org/10.3390/tomography7010001 - 05 Feb 2021
Viewed by 303
Abstract
The small animal imaging Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) acquisition context structured report (SR) was developed to incorporate pre-clinical data in an established DICOM format for rapid queries and comparison of clinical and non-clinical datasets. Established terminologies (i.e., anesthesia, mouse model [...] Read more.
The small animal imaging Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) acquisition context structured report (SR) was developed to incorporate pre-clinical data in an established DICOM format for rapid queries and comparison of clinical and non-clinical datasets. Established terminologies (i.e., anesthesia, mouse model nomenclature, veterinary definitions, NCI Metathesaurus) were utilized to assist in defining terms implemented in pre-clinical imaging and new codes were added to integrate the specific small animal procedures and handling processes, such as housing, biosafety level, and pre-imaging rodent preparation. In addition to the standard DICOM fields, the small animal SR includes fields specific to small animal imaging such as tumor graft (i.e., melanoma), tissue of origin, mouse strain, and exogenous material, including the date and site of injection. Additionally, the mapping and harmonization developed by the Mouse-Human Anatomy Project were implemented to assist co-clinical research by providing cross-reference human-to-mouse anatomies. Furthermore, since small animal imaging performs multi-mouse imaging for high throughput, and queries for co-clinical research requires a one-to-one relation, an imaging splitting routine was developed, new Unique Identifiers (UID’s) were created, and the original patient name and ID were saved for reference to the original dataset. We report the implementation of the small animal SR using MRI datasets (as an example) of patient-derived xenograft mouse models and uploaded to The Cancer Imaging Archive (TCIA) for public dissemination, and also implemented this on PET/CT datasets. The small animal SR enhancement provides researchers the ability to query any DICOM modality pre-clinical and clinical datasets using standard vocabularies and enhances co-clinical studies. Full article
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