HC Canuto, C McLachlan, MI Kettunen, M Velic, AS Krishnan, AA Neves, M de Backer, D-E Hu, MP Hobson, KM Brindle
Magn Reson Med
A targeted Gd(3+)-based contrast agent has been developed that detects tumor cell death by binding to the phosphatidylserine (PS) exposed on the plasma membrane of dying cells. Although this agent has been used to detect tumor cell death in vivo, the differences in signal intensity between treated and untreated tumors was relatively small. As cell death is often spatially heterogeneous within tumors, we investigated whether an image analysis technique that parameterizes heterogeneity could be used to increase the sensitivity of detection of this targeted contrast agent. Two-dimensional (2D) Minkowski functionals (MFs) provided an automated and reliable method for parameterization of image heterogeneity, which does not require prior assumptions about the number of regions or features in the image, and were shown to increase the sensitivity of detection of the contrast agent as compared to simple signal intensity analysis.