Linearity and bias of proton density fat fraction as a quantitative imaging biomarker: A multicenter, multiplatform, multivendor phantom study

RSNA Quantitative Imaging Biomarkers Alliance PDFF Biomarker Committee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Proton density fat fraction (PDFF) estimated by using chemical shift-encoded (CSE) MRI is an accepted imaging biomarker of hepatic steatosis. This work aims to promote standardized use of CSE MRI to estimate PDFF. Purpose: To assess the accuracy of CSE MRI methods for estimating PDFF by determining the linearity and range of bias observed in a phantom. Materials and Methods: In this prospective study, a commercial phantom with 12 vials of known PDFF values were shipped across nine U.S. centers. The phantom underwent 160 independent MRI examinations on 27 1.5-T and 3.0-T systems from three vendors. Two three-dimensional CSE MRI protocols with minimal T1 bias were included: vendor and standardized. Each vendor's confounder-corrected complex or hybrid magnitude-complex based reconstruction algorithm was used to generate PDFF maps in both protocols. The Siemens reconstruction required a configuration change to correct for water-fat swaps in the phantom. The MRI PDFF values were compared with the known PDFF values by using linear regression with mixed-effects modeling. The 95% CIs were calculated for the regression slope (ie, proportional bias) and intercept (ie, constant bias) and compared with the null hypothesis (slope = 1, intercept = 0). Results: Pooled regression slope for estimated PDFF values versus phantom-derived reference PDFF values was 0.97 (95% CI: 0.96, 0.98) in the biologically relevant 0%-47.5% PDFF range. The corresponding pooled intercept was 20.27% (95% CI: 20.50%, 20.05%). Across vendors, slope ranges were 0.86-1.02 (vendor protocols) and 0.97-1.0 (standardized protocol) at 1.5 T and 0.91-1.01 (vendor protocols) and 0.87-1.01 (standardized protocol) at 3.0 T. The intercept ranges (absolute PDFF percentage) were 20.65% to 0.18% (vendor protocols) and 20.69% to 20.17% (standardized protocol) at 1.5 T and 20.48% to 0.10% (vendor protocols) and 20.78% to 20.21% (standardized protocol) at 3.0 T. Conclusion: Proton density fat fraction estimation derived from three-dimensional chemical shift-encoded MRI in a commercial phantom was accurate across vendors, imaging centers, and field strengths, with use of the vendors' product acquisition and reconstruction software.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)640-651
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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