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T1 signal intensity ratio of the pancreas as an imaging biomarker for the staging of chronic pancreatitis

Our purpose was to validate the T1 SIR (T1 score) as an imaging biomarker for the staging of CP in a large, multi-institutional, prospective study. The prospective study population included 820 participants enrolled in the PROCEED study from nine clinical centers between June 2017 and December 2021. A radiologist at each institution used a standardized method to measure the T1 signal intensity of the pancreas and the reference organs (spleen, paraspinal muscle, liver), which was used to derive respective T1 scores. Participants were stratified according to the seven mechanistic stages of chronic pancreatitis (MSCP 0-6) based on their clinical history, MRCP, and CT findings. The mean pancreas-to-spleen T1 score was 1.30 in participants with chronic abdominal pain, 1.22 in those with acute or recurrent acute pancreatitis, and 1.03 in definite CP. After adjusting for covariates, we observed a linear, progressive decline in the pancreas-to-spleen T1 score with increasing MSCP from 0 to 6. The mean pancreas-to-spleen T1 scores were 1.34 (MSCP 0), 1.27 (MSCP 1), 1.21 (MSCP 2), 1.16 (MSCP 3), 1.18 (MSCP 4), 1.12 (MSCP 5), and 1.05 (MSCP 6) (p < 0.0001). The pancreas-to-liver and pancreas-to-muscle T1 scores showed less linear trends and wider confidence intervals. The T1 score calculated by SIR of the pancreas-to-spleen shows a negative linear correlation with the progression of chronic pancreatitis. It holds promise as a practical imaging biomarker in evaluating disease severity in clinical research and practice.

Authors: Tirkes, Temel; Van Den Eeden, Stephen K; Consortium for the Study of Chronic Pancreatitis, Diabetes, Pancreatic Cancer (CPDPC),; et al.

Abdom Radiol (NY). 2022 Oct;47(10):3507-3519. Epub 2022-07-20.

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