Devkumar Mustafi1, Elizabeth Peng1, Jeremy Palgen1, Jonathan River2, Sean Foxley2, Gregory S. Karczmar2
1Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA; 2Radiology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
We tested several MRI methods for the identification and characterization of small calcium crystals for probing microcalcifications in breast cancer. High-resolution MR images were acquired of small crystals imbedded in air bubble-free agar phantoms. True sizes of crystals, their amplifications and the variations in magnetic susceptibility between agar and Ca-crystals were precisely determined. Spin echo images accurately depicted the true size of the calcifications. Although gradient echo images significantly amplified crystal sizes due to blooming artifacts, images were distorted. Calcifications were amplified and easily seen in water peak height images derived from high resolution echo planar spectroscopic imaging data.