Multi-parametric MRI (mpMRI) for treatment response assessment of radiation therapy

Chunhao Wang, Kyle R. Padgett, Min Ying Su, Eric A. Mellon, Danilo Maziero, Zheng Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) plays an important role in the modern radiation therapy (RT) workflow. In comparison with computed tomography (CT) imaging, which is the dominant imaging modality in RT, MRI possesses excellent soft-tissue contrast for radiographic evaluation. Based on quantitative models, MRI can be used to assess tissue functional and physiological information. With the developments of scanner design, acquisition strategy, advanced data analysis, and modeling, multiparametric MRI (mpMRI), a combination of morphologic and functional imaging modalities, has been increasingly adopted for disease detection, localization, and characterization. Integration of mpMRI techniques into RT enriches the opportunities to individualize RT. In particular, RT response assessment using mpMRI allows for accurate characterization of both tissue anatomical and biochemical changes to support decision-making in monotherapy of radiation treatment and/or systematic cancer management. In recent years, accumulating evidence have, indeed, demonstrated the potentials of mpMRI in RT response assessment regarding patient stratification, trial benchmarking, early treatment intervention, and outcome modeling. Clinical application of mpMRI for treatment response assessment in routine radiation oncology workflow, however, is more complex than implementing an additional imaging protocol; mpMRI requires additional focus on optimal study design, practice standardization, and unified statistical reporting strategy to realize its full potential in the context of RT. In this article, the mpMRI theories, including image mechanism, protocol design, and data analysis, will be reviewed with a focus on the radiation oncology field. Representative works will be discussed to demonstrate how mpMRI can be used for RT response assessment. Additionally, issues and limits of current works, as well as challenges and potential future research directions, will also be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMedical physics
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • multiparametric MRI
  • response assessment
  • RT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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