Jonathan Marmurek1, Elaine Lunsford2, Elena Vinogradov2, 3, Khaled Nasr2, Fangbing Liu2, Ananth J. Madhuranthakam4, John V. Frangioni2, 5, Robert E. Lenkinski3
1Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States; 2Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA; 3UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX; 4Global Applied Science Laboratory, GE Healthcare, Boston, MA; 5Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Clinical x-ray mammography cannot delineate hydroxyapatite (HA) and calcium oxalate (CO), the respective forms of microcalcification in malignant and benign breast cancer. We present the first in-vivo MRI of an HA-targeted gadolinium contrast agent. Pre- and post-contrast MRI using ultra-short echo times (UTE) showed that the contrast agent had a 4.3-fold relative specificity for HA over CO when delivered systemically to subcutaneous crystal implants in mice. UTE MRI of a breast cancer model in rats showed that the HA-targeted contrast agent produced a signal intensity enhancement greater than 200% in tumor calcifications.