Multimodality imaging of ethiodized oil-loaded radiopaque microspheres during transarterial embolization of rabbits with VX2 liver tumors

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Journal Article

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© RSNA, 2015. Purpose: To assess the visibility of radiopaque microspheres during transarterial embolization (TAE) in the VX2 rabbit liver tumor model by using multimodality imaging, including singlesnapshot radiography, cone-beam computed tomography (CT), multidetector CT, and micro-CT. Materials and Methods: The study was approved by the institutional animal care and use committee. Fifteen VX2-tumor-bearing rabbits were assigned to three groups depending on the type of embolic agent injected: 70-150-mm radiopaque microspheres in saline (radiopaque microsphere group), 70-150-mm radiopaque microspheres in contrast material (radiopaque microsphere plus contrast material group), and 70-150-mm radiolucent microspheres in contrast material (nonradiopaque microsphere plus contrast material group). Rabbits were imaged with singlesnapshot radiography, cone-beam CT, and multidetector CT. Three to 5 weeks after sacrifice, excised livers were imaged with micro-CT and histologic analysis was performed. The visibility of the embolic agent was assessed with all modalities before and after embolization by using a qualitative three-point scale score reading study and a quantitative assessment of the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) change in various regions of interest, including the tumor and its feeding arteries. The Kruskal- Wallis test was used to compare the rabbit characteristics across groups, and the Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to compare SNR measurements before and after embolization. Results: Radiopaque microspheres were qualitatively visualized within tumor feeding arteries and targeted tissue with all imaging modalities (P , .05), and their presence was confirmed with histologic examination. SNRs of radiopaque microsphere deposition increased after TAE on multidetector CT, cone-beam CT, and micro-CT images (P , .05). Similar results were obtained when contrast material was added to radiopaque microspheres, except for additional image attenuation due to tumor enhancement. For the group with nonradiopaque microspheres and contrast material, retained tumoral contrast remained qualitatively visible with all modalities except for micro-CT, which demonstrated soluble contrast material washout over time. Conclusion: Radiopaque microspheres were visible with all imaging modalities and helped increase conspicuity of the tumor as well as its feeding arteries after TAE in a rabbit VX2 liver tumor model.

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