Detection and characterization of liver lesions using gadoxetic acid as a tissue-specific contrast agent
Peter Reimer1, Rolf Vosshenrich2
1Department of Radiology, Klinikum Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany; 2Radiologen-Gemeinschaftspraxis, MRT im Friederikenstift, Hannover, Germany
Abstract: The value of cross-sectional liver imaging is evaluated by the accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of the specific imaging technique. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become a key technique for the characterization and detection of focal and diffuse liver disease. More recently, gadoxetic acid, the hepatocyte-specific MR contrast agent, was clinically approved and introduced in many countries. Gadoxetic acid may be considered a “molecular imaging” probe because the compound is actively taken into hepatocytes via the ATP-dependent organic anion transport system in the plasma membrane for the hepatic uptake. The transport of gadoxetic acid from the cytoplasm to the bile is mainly determined by the capacity of the transport protein glutathione-S-transferase. Gadoxetic acid enhances hepatocyte-containing lesions and improves detection of lesions devoid of normal hepatocytes, such as metastases. Innovative rapid MR acquisition techniques with near isotropic 3D pulse sequences with fat saturation parallel the technical progress made by multidetector computed tomography combined with an impressive improvement in tumor–liver contrast when used for gadoxetic acid-enhanced MRI. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of the development, clinical testing, and applications of this novel MR contrast agent.
Keywords: hepatocytes, tumor, gadoxetic acid, liver lesions
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