Objective: Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (qMRI) of cartilage morphology is a promising tool for disease modifying osteoarthritis drug (DMOAD) development. Recent studies at single sites have indicated that measurements at 3.0 Tesla (T) are more reproducible (precise) than those at 1.5 Tesla. Precision errors and stability in multicenter studies with imaging equipment from various vendors have, however, not yet been evaluated.
Methods: 158 female participants (97 Kellgren and Lawrence grade (KLG) 0, 31 KLG 2, and 30 KLG 3) were imaged at 7 clinical centers using Siemens Magnetom Trio and GE Signa Excite magnets. Double oblique coronal acquisitions were obtained at baseline and at 3 months, using water excitation spoiled gradient echo sequences (1.0x 0.31x 0.31mm3 resolution). Segmentation of femoro-tibial cartilage morphology was performed using proprietary software (Chondrometrics GmbH, Germany).
Results: The precision error (RMS CV%) for cartilage thickness / volume measurements ranged from 2.1% / 2.4% (medial tibia) to 2.9% / 3.3% (lateral weight-bearing femoral condyle) across all participants. No significant differences in precision errors were observed between KL grades, imaging sites, or scanner manufacturers / types. Mean differences in cartilage thickness ranged from < 0.1% (non-significant) in the medial to 0.94% (p < 0.01) in the lateral femorotibial compartment, and were 0.33% (p < 0.02) for the total femorotibial subchondral bone area.
Conclusions: 3.0T qMRI provides highly reproducible measurements of cartilage morpho-logy in multicenter clinical trials with equipment from different vendors. The technology thus appears sufficiently robust to be recommended for large scale multicenter trials.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging
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