Research Article: Liver fibrosis detection and staging: a comparative study of T1ρ MR imaging and 2D real-time shear-wave elastography

Date Published: December 2, 2017

Publisher: Springer US

Author(s): Ruo-kun Li, Xin-pin Ren, Fu-hua Yan, Jin-wei Qiang, Hui-min Lin, Hong-fei Zhao, Wei-bo Chen.


To compare the results of T1ρ MR imaging and 2D real-time shear-wave elastography (SWE) for liver fibrosis detection and staging.

Twenty-nine rabbit models of CCl4-induced liver fibrosis were established and six untreated rabbits served as controls. T1ρ MR imaging and 2D real-time SWE examination were performed at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 weeks. T1ρ values and liver stiffness (LS) values were measured. Fibrosis was staged according to the METAVIR scoring system. Correlation test was performed among T1ρ values, LS values, and fibrosis stage. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was performed for assessing diagnostic performance of T1ρ and SWE in detection of no fibrosis (F0), substantial fibrosis (≥ F2), severe fibrosis (≥ F3), and cirrhosis (F4).

There was moderate positive correlation between fibrosis stage and T1ρ values (r = 0.566; 95% CI 0.291–0.754; P < 0.0001), and LS value (r = 0.726; 95% CI 0.521–0.851; P = 0.003). T1ρ values showed moderate positive correlations with LS values [r = 0.693; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.472–0.832; P < 0.0001]. Areas Under ROC (AUROCs) were 0.861 (95% CI 0.705–0.953) for SWE and 0.856 (95% CI 0.698–0.950) for T1ρ (P = 0.940), 0.906 (95% CI 0.762–0.978) for SWE and 0.849 (95% CI 0.691–0.946) for T1ρ (P = 0.414), 0.870 (95% CI 0.716–0.958) for SWE and 0.799 (95% CI 0.632–0.913) for T1ρ (P = 0.422), and 0.846 (95% CI 0.687–0.944) for SWE and 0.692 (95% CI 0.517–0.835) for T1ρ (P = 0.137), when diagnosing liver fibrosis with ≥ F1, ≥ F2, ≥ F3, and F4, respectively. There was moderate positive correlation between inflammatory activity and T1ρ values (r = 0.520; 95% CI 0.158–0.807; P = 0.013). T1ρ imaging has potential for liver fibrosis detection and staging with good diagnostic capability similar to that of ultrasonography elastography.

Partial Text

The establishment of new non-invasive approaches is essential in accurately determining the liver fibrosis, and in facilitating the correct diagnosis and monitoring of fibrosis. In the present study, we observed a significant correlation between the T1ρ value, LS value, and the degree of fibrosis in a rabbit model of CCl4-induced liver fibrosis. Additionally, T1ρ imaging demonstrated good diagnostic performance for liver fibrosis staging similar to SWE. To our knowledge, this is the first study that provides a head-to-head comparison of T1ρ imaging and elastography technique.




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