Blood supply is crucial for rapid growth of a malignant tumor; medical imaging can play an important role in evaluating the vascular characterstics of tumors. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and micro-computed tomography (CT) are able to detect tumors and measure blood volumes of microcirculation in tissue. In this study, we used MR imaging and micro-CT to assess the microcirculation in a VX2 tumor model in rabbits. MRI characterization was performed using the intravascular contrast agent Clariscan (NC100150-Injection); micro-CT with Microfil was used to directly depict blood vessels with diameters as low as 17 um in tissue. Relative blood volume fraction (rBVF) in the tumor rim and blood vessel density (rBVD) over the whole tumor was calculated using the two imaging methods. Our study indicates that rBVF is negatively related to the volume of the tumor measured by ultrasound (R = 0.90). rBVF in the tissue of a VX2 tumor measured by MRI in vivo was qualitatively consistent with the rBVD demonstrated by micro-CT in vitro (R = 0.97). The good correlation between the two methods indicates that MRI studies are potentially valuable for assessing characteristics or tumor vascularity and for assessing response to therapy noninvasively
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