Purpose: To investigate parotid perfusion in early-to-intermediate stage after parotid-sparing radiation dose using fat-saturated DCE-MRI, and to verify whether the perfusion alteration was related to radiation dose and the PSV. Methods and Materials: Thirty-two parotid glands from 16 consecutive patients with pathologically proven nasopharyngeal carcinoma treated by IMRT were examined. The parotid glands received a radiation dose of 28.9. ±. 3.9. Gy with a PSV of 43.1%. ±. 13.9%. Perfusion parameters were calculated using time-shifted Brix model from fat-saturated DCE-MRI data before (pre-RT) and in early-to-intermediate stage after (post-RT) IMRT. Paired t-test was used to evaluate perfusion changes, while Pearson's correlation test was used to examine perfusion dependency on radiation dose and PSV. For multiple comparisons Bonferroni correction was applied. Results: Successful fat saturation was achieved in 29 of 32 parotid glands. Compared with pre-RT, the post-RT parotid glands showed significantly higher A, peak enhancement, and wash-in slope, plus a lower Kel, suggesting a mixed effect of increased vascular permeability and acinar loss. Linear regression showed that peak enhancement was positively associated with radiation dose in post-RT parotid glands. Kel and slope were negatively associated with PSV, while time-to-peak was positively associated with PSV significantly. Conclusions: Our results suggest that time-shifted Brix model is feasible for quantifying parotid perfusion using DCE-MRI. The perfusion alterations in early-to-intermediate stage after IMRT might be related to a mixed effect of increased vascular permeability and acinar loss with dose and PSV dependencies.
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