Probing lipids relaxation times in breast cancer using magnetic resonance spectroscopic fingerprinting

Noam Nissan, Alexey Kulpanovich, Ravit Agassi, Tanir Allweis, Ilana Haas, Einat Carmon, Edna Furman-Haran, Debbie Anaby, Miri Sklair-Levy, Assaf Tal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: To investigate the clinical relevance of the relaxation times of lipids within breast cancer and normal fibroglandular tissue in vivo, using magnetic resonance spectroscopic fingerprinting (MRSF). Methods: Twelve patients with biopsy-confirmed breast cancer and 14 healthy controls were prospectively scanned at 3 T using a protocol consisting of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), MRSF, and dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MRI. Single-voxel MRSF data was recorded from the tumor (patients) — identified using DTI — or normal fibroglandular tissue (controls), in under 20 s. MRSF data was analyzed using in-house software. Linear mixed model analysis was used to compare the relaxation times of lipids in breast cancer VOIs vs. normal fibroglandular tissue. Results: Seven distinguished lipid metabolite peaks were identified and their relaxation times were recorded. Of them, several exhibited statistically significant changes between controls and patients, with strong significance (p < 10−3) recorded for several of the lipid resonances at 1.3 ppm (T1 = 355 ± 17 ms vs. 389 ± 27 ms), 4.1 ppm (T1 = 255 ± 86 ms vs. 127 ± 33 ms), 5.22 ppm (T1 = 724 ± 81 ms vs. 516 ± 62 ms), and 5.31 ppm (T2 = 56 ± 5 ms vs. 44 ± 3.5 ms, respectively). Conclusions: The application of MRSF to breast cancer imaging is feasible and achievable in clinically relevant scan time. Further studies are required to verify and comprehend the underling biological mechanism behind the differences in lipid relaxation times in cancer and normal fibroglandular tissue. Key Points: •The relaxation times of lipids in breast tissue are potential markers for quantitative characterization of the normal fibroglandular tissue and cancer. •Lipid relaxation times can be acquired rapidly in a clinically relevant manner using a single-voxel technique, termed MRSF. •Relaxation times of T1 at 1.3 ppm, 4.1 ppm, and 5.22 ppm, as well as of T2 at 5.31 ppm, were significantly different between measurements within breast cancer and the normal fibroglandular tissue.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3744-3753
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to European Society of Radiology.


  • Breast MRS
  • Breast cancer imaging
  • Lipids in breast cancer
  • Magnetic resonance fingerprinting
  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy


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