OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of age and fat content on quantitative dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) parameters in the bone marrow of the lumbar spine and pelvis. The interreader reproducibility of this technique will also be assessed.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Forty-three DCE-MRI studies of the female pelvis defined the study group. Quantitative pharmacokinetic perfusion parameters of lumbar and pelvic marrow were analyzed by three readers on a DCE-MRI postprocessing platform. Linear regression analysis was performed to determine the effect of age and marrow fat fraction on the parameters of transfer constant (K(trans)), efflux rate constant (K(ep)), extravascular extracellular space (V(e)), and initial area under the gadolinium curve at 60 seconds (iAUGC(60)). Interreader agreement was assessed by means of intraclass correlation coefficient calculation.
RESULTS: A weak but statistically significant correlation was established between both age and fat fraction and the parameters K(trans) (R(2) = 0.14) and K(ep) (R(2) = 0.09). There was also a weak but statistically significant correlation between fat fraction and V(e) (R(2) = 0.116) and iAUGC(60) (R(2) = 0.108), but no correlation between age and these parameters. Intraclass correlation coefficients of parameter measurements by different readers were all greater than 0.7 at the p < 0.05 level.
CONCLUSION: Age and fat fraction have small measurable effects on quantitative DCE-MRI parameters in bone marrow. However, given the wide interindividual variation of these parameters, these effects are unlikely to confound changes related to malignancy or treatment. Also of note, there was strong interreader reproducibility of parameter measurements among a range of experience levels, suggesting that the reader-reader experience level may not represent a significant source of variability in bone marrow DCE-MRI.