University of Wisconsin–Madison

Non-invasive Quantification of Liver Iron Overload with MRI for Diagnosis and Treatment Monitoring

June 2011 to June 2012

The purpose of this work is to validate magnetic resonance imaging MRI as a biomarker of hepatic iron concentration (HIC). Excessive accumulation of iron in the body can result from abnormal intestinal absorption in hereditary hemochromatosis or repeated intravenous blood transfusions (i.e. transfusional hemosiderosis). Excess body iron is highly toxic, and requires treatment aimed at reducing body iron stores. Measurement of body iron stores is critical for detection of iron overload, staging its severity, and monitoring of iron-reducing therapies that are often extremely expensive (>$40,000/year) and carry their own toxicities. The MR relaxation parameter R2* (=1/T2*) has been previously shown to correlate linearly with HIC. However, R2* measurements are affected by several key confounders, including fat and Bo field inhomogeneities. We have developed a novel technique for confounder-corrected R2* mapping. In this project, we will validate the proposed technique, and calibrate it using an FDA-approved MRI-based reference standard (Ferriscan) in a cohort of 10 normal subjects (controls) and 40 subjects having known or suspected iron overload.

This project led by: Scott B Reeder, MD, PhD