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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Magnetic resonance elastography of prostate cancer Sahebjavaher, Ramin Sebastian


This work presents new approaches to in-vivo and ex-vivo human prostate cancer imaging using magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) – a method to non-invasively image tissue elasticity using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). From a clinical perspective, stiffness correlates with underlying tissue disease processes and has been traditionally probed with palpation. Thus, diagnosis based on mechanical properties may have great implications in terms of staging of prostate cancer, monitoring disease progression, treatment planning and post treatment follow up. In MRE, mechanical shear waves generted by an external transducer are imaged using an MRI scanner. From the acquired wave field it is possible to reconstruct mechanical properties such as the elastic modulus based on the wave equation. In this work two MR compatible trans-perineal transducers are developed for imaging of the human prostate on a 3T MR scanner. A new MRI pulse sequence is also developed to acquire the three dimensional wave field induced by these transducers. The methods are validated in quality assurance phantoms and volunteer repeatability studies. The system is used for a patient study and the results are compared to the gold standard (whole-mount histopathology marked with Gleason score). Similarly, a transducer is developed for ex-vivo prostate studies on a 7T MR scanner. After validation, prostate specimens of patients are examined and the results are compared to the Gleason score. The overall conclusion are: (i) trans-perineal excitation is well tolerated by the subjects, (ii) the transducers do not interfere with the MR acquisition, (iii) the three dimensional wave field are successfully captured using the new pulse sequence, (iv) phantom validation studies prove that the methods are in fact repeatable and that the stiffness values match with the manufacturer’s specifications, (v) patient motion and the standing wave pattern degrade the repeatability of the reconstructed images, (vi) the prostate gland stands out in the stiffness and shear strain images, (vii) the central gland and in particular the transition zone are stiffer than the peripheral zone, (viii) cancer could indeed be detected with MRE with an area under the receiver-operator-curve of approximately 0.7, and finally (ix) the chemical fixation process degrades the stiffness contrast.

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Attribution 2.5 Canada