We demonstrate a novel approach to measuring regional tumor oxygen tension using 19F pulse burst saturation recovery echo planar imaging (EPI) relaxometry of hexaflurobenzene. Hexafluorobenzene offers exceptional sensitivity to changes in oxygen tension, and has a single resonance making it ideal for imaging studies. By combining a pulse burst saturation recovery preparation sequence with EPI, the relaxation experiments were performed in ~20 min facilitating measurements of dynamic changes in pO2 accompanying interventions. Direct intratumoral administration of hexafluorobenzene permitted labeling of specific regions of interest and imaging provided maps of pO2, confirming distinct intra tumoral heterogeneity. For a group of three Dunning prostate adenocarcinoma R3327-AT1 tumors interrogation of the central tumor region showed skewed pO2 distributions with considerable radiobiological hypoxia (~90% voxels had pO2 < 15 torr) when rats breathed 33% O2. Altering the inspired gas to pure oxygen caused distributions to shift towards increased pO2 with significant increases in mean oxygen tension (p < 0.05) in two cases. Interrogation of both central and peripheral regions in a fourth tumor showed bimodal distribution for tumor oxygenation including ~75% voxels with pO2 > 15 tort. EPI allows the fate of individual voxels to be traced: upon altering the inspired gas to pure oxygen those voxels with baseline pO2 > 30 torr showed significant changes (p < 0.05), whereas those with pO2 < 16 torr showed minimal response. The precision of the measurements, together with the ability to simultaneously examine dynamic changes in multiple regions should provide a useful technique for investigating tumor hypoxia with respect to therapy.
- Echo planar imaging (EPI)
- F magnetic resonance imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging