Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI to characterize angiogenesis in primary epithelial ovarian cancer: An exploratory study

Auni Lindgren, Maarit Anttila, Otso Arponen, Kirsi Hämäläinen, Mervi Könönen, Ritva Vanninen, Hanna Sallinen

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    Purpose: Angiogenesis is essential for tumor growth. Currently, there are no established imaging biomarkers to show angiogenesis in tumor tissue. The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate whether semiquantitative and pharmacokinetic DCE-MRI perfusion parameters could be used to assess angiogenesis in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Method: We enrolled 38 patients with primary EOC treated in 2011–2014. DCE-MRI was performed with a 3.0 T imaging system before the surgical treatment. Two different sizes of ROI were used to evaluate semiquantitative and pharmacokinetic DCE perfusion parameters: a large ROI (L-ROI) covering the whole primary lesion on one plane and a small ROI (S-ROI) covering a small solid, highly enhancing focus. Tissue samples from tumors were collected during the surgery. Immunohistochemistry was used to measure the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), its receptors (VEGFRs) and to analyse microvascular density (MVD) and the number of microvessels. Results: VEGF expression correlated inversely with Ktrans (L-ROI, r = -0.395 (p = 0.009), S-ROI, r = -0.390, (p = 0.010)), Ve (L-ROI, r = -0.395 (p = 0.009), S-ROI, r = -0.412 (p = 0.006)) and Vp (L-ROI, r = -0.388 (p = 0.011), S-ROI, r = -0.339 (p = 0.028)) values in EOC. Higher VEGFR-2 correlated with lower DCE parameters Ktrans (L-ROI, r = -0.311 (p = 0.040), S-ROI, r = -0.337 (p = 0.025)) and Ve (L-ROI, r = -0.305 (p = 0.044), S-ROI, r = -0.355 (p = 0.018)). We also found that MVD and the number of microvessels correlated positively with AUC, Peak and WashIn values. Conclusions: We observed that several DCE-MRI parameters correlated with VEGF and VEGFR-2 expression and MVD. Thus, both semiquantitative and pharmacokinetic perfusion parameters of DCE-MRI represent promising tools for the assessment of angiogenesis in EOC.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number110925
    Number of pages8
    JournalEuropean Journal of Radiology
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Angiogenesis
    • Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced MRI
    • Epithelial Ovarian cancer
    • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    • Microvessels
    • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A

    Publication forum classification

    • Publication forum level 1

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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