Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Medical Biophysics


Timothy Scholl


Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common malignancy in men. Aggressive prostate tumours must be identified, differentiated from indolent tumours, and treated to ensure survival of the patient. Currently, clinicians use a combination of multi-parametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) contrasts to improve PCa detection. While these techniques provide very good spatial resolution, the specificity is often insufficient to unequivocally identify malignant lesions.

Utilizing specialized MRI hardware developed for sensitive in-vivo detection of sodium, this work has investigated differences in sodium concentration between healthy and malignant prostate tissue. Patients with biopsy-proven PCa underwent conventional mpMRI and sodium MRI followed by radical prostatectomy. Subsequent whole-mount histopathology of the excised prostate was then contoured according to Gleason Grade, a radiological assessment of tumour stage and aggressiveness for PCa. Tissue sodium concentration (TSC) measured by sodium MRI was successfully co-registered with standard image contrasts from multi-parametric MRI and also with pathologist confirmed histopathology as the gold standard.

This proposed method provides quantitative, in-vivo sodium information from cancerous human prostates. The results of this study establish the relationship between TSC and malignant PCa, which could prove useful in initial characterization of the disease and for active surveillance of indolent lesions.