This work describes a methodology for quantifying levels of total choline-containing compounds (tCho) in the breast using in vivo 1H MR spectroscopy (MRS) at high field (4 Tesla). Water is used as an internal reference compound to account for the partial volume of adipose tissue. Peak amplitudes are estimated by fitting one peak at a time over a narrow frequency band to allow measurement of small metabolite resonances in spectra with large lipid peaks. This quantitative method significantly improves previously reported analysis methods by accounting for the variable sensitivity of breast 1H MRS measurements. Using this technique, we detected and quantified a tCho peak in 214 of 500 in vivo spectra. tCho levels were found to be significantly higher in malignancies than in benign abnormalities and normal breast tissues, which suggests that this technique could be used to diagnose suspicious lesions and monitor response to cancer treatments.
- Breast cancer