The metabolically inactive hyperpolarized agents HP001 (bis-1,1-(hydroxymethyl)-[1-13C]cyclopropane-d8) and urea enable a new type of perfusion magnetic resonance imaging based on a direct signal source that is background-free. The addition of perfusion information to metabolic information obtained by spectroscopic imaging of hyperpolarized [1-13C]pyruvate would be of great value in exploring the relationship between perfusion and metabolism in cancer. In preclinical normal murine and cancer model studies, we performed both dynamic multislice imaging of the specialized hyperpolarized perfusion compound HP001 (T1=95 s ex vivo, 32 s in vivo at 3 T) using a pulse sequence with balanced steady-state free precession and ramped flip angle over time for efficient utilization of the hyperpolarized magnetization and three-dimensional echo-planar spectroscopic imaging of urea copolarized with [1-13C]pyruvate, with compressed sensing for resolution enhancement. For the dynamic data, peak signal maps and blood flow maps derived from perfusion modeling were generated. The spatial heterogeneity of perfusion was increased 2.9-fold in tumor tissues (P=.05), and slower washout was observed in the dynamic data. The results of separate dynamic HP001 imaging and copolarized pyruvate/urea imaging were compared. A strong and significant correlation (R=0.73, P=.02) detected between the urea and HP001 data confirmed the value of copolarizing urea with pyruvate for simultaneous assessment of perfusion and metabolism.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 2012, Vol 30, Issue 3, p. 305-311