Background: Pediatric bone marrow assessment by MRI is challenging and primarily experiential and qualitative, with a paucity of clinically useful quantitative imaging techniques. Objective: MRI fat fraction (MRI-FF) is a technique used to quantify the degree of fat in other organ systems. The purpose of this study was to assess whether MRI-FF accurately measures bone marrow composition. Materials and methods: This two-part study included a validation phase, followed by an application phase. For the validation phase, the MRI-FF of piglet bones (6 long bones, 8 axial bones) was performed at 1.5 tesla (T) and 3.0 T, and correlated to the histological fat fraction (H-FF). We used Bland–Altman plots to compare MRI-FF at 1.5 tesla T and 3.0 T. For the application phase, five children with malignant marrow disease were recruited along with seven age- and gender-matched control subjects. The MRI-FF in the children was correlated to the H-FF. Boxplots were used to compare the MRI-FF of patients and control subjects. Results: For the validation animal study, the MRI-FF of piglet bones at both 1.5 T and 3.0 T demonstrated moderate positive correlation to H-FF (r=0.41 and 0.42, respectively). MRI-FF at 1.5 T and 3.0 T were in good agreement, on average 7.7% apart. For the application phase, we included 5 children (4 with leukemia, 1 rhabdomyosarcoma) with median age 7 years, range (3–10 years). All children had MRI-FF and H-FF below 10%. The MRI-FF in patients (3.8±1.2) was significantly lower than that of control subjects (46.1±12.3%) (P<0.01). Conclusion: MRI-FF is a valid technique to assess bone marrow fat fraction at both 1.5 T and 3.0 T. The MRI-FF in children with malignant marrow processes is significantly lower than in control subjects with normal marrow.
- Bone marrow
- Diffuse marrow process
- Fat fraction
- Magnetic resonance imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging