Characterization of ex vivo healthy human axillary lymph nodes with high resolution 7 Tesla MRI

M. A. Korteweg, J. J.M. Zwanenburg, P. J. Van Diest, M. A.A.J. Van Den Bosch, P. R. Luijten, R. Van Hillegersberg, W. P.Th M. Mali, W. B. Veldhuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: To characterize ex vivo healthy human axillary lymph nodes on 7 Tesla MRI and to correlate the findings with pathological analysis as a first step towards non-invasive staging of breast cancer patients in the future. Methods: Four axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) specimens from 2 autopsy patients, who had no cancer, were examined on a clinical 7 Tesla MRI system. For morphological analysis a 3D T1-weighted fat-suppressed fast-field-echo [isotropic resolution 180 μm] was acquired. For quantitative analyses 2D T1-, 3D T2-, T2*- and diffusion-weighted images were acquired. The ALNDs were mapped and stained for precise correlation of MRI to pathology. Nodes were sliced in 3 μm sections, Haematoxylin & Eosin stained, and examined by an experienced pathologist. Results: MRI detected all 45 nodes and 6 additional nodes that were not detected at pathological analysis. B-cell follicles, efferent- and afferent lymph vessels and blood vessels were identified. Mean T1, T2, T2*, ADC values (± standard deviation) were 944∈±∈113 ms, 32∈±∈2 ms, 16∈± ∈2 ms, 0.39∈±∈0.09•10-3 mm2/s, respectively. Conclusions: 7 Tesla MRI of ex vivo human axillary lymph nodes correlated well with pathology. MRI detected all nodes present in the specimens and allowed visualization of fine structural detail. Pathology-correlated quantitative MRI data are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-317
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean radiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • 7 Tesla
  • Breast neoplasms
  • Lymph nodes
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Neoplasm staging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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