A feasibility study of magnetic resonance electrical impedance tomography for prostate cancer detection

Yang Liu, Yingchun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Magnetic resonance electrical impedance tomography (MREIT) is an imaging technique that reconstructs the conductivity distribution inside the subject using magnetic flux density or current density measurements acquired by a magnetic resonance imaging system. Since the primary prostate cancer diagnostic method, prostate biopsy, has limited accuracy in cancer diagnosis and malignant tissues have shown significantly different electrical properties from normal or benign tissues, MREIT has potential application in prostate cancer detection. The feasibility of utilizing MREIT in detecting prostate cancer was evaluated via a series of well-designed computer simulations in the present study. MREIT techniques with three different electrode configurations (external, trans-rectal, and trans-urethral electrode arrays) and two different reconstruction algorithms (J-substitution algorithm and harmonic Bz algorithm) were successfully developed. The performance of different MREIT techniques were evaluated and compared based on the imaging accuracy of the reconstructed conductivity distribution in the prostate. Without the presence of noise, the external MREIT achieves a better imaging accuracy than the two endo-MREIT (trans-rectal and trans-urethral) techniques, while the trans-urethral MREIT achieves the best imaging accuracy in noisy environments. We also found that the J-substitution reconstruction algorithm consistently offered better imaging accuracy than the harmonic Bz algorithm. When Gaussian distributed random noise with a standard deviation of 0.25 nT was added, the relative errors (RE) between the reconstructed and target conductivity distributions inside the prostate were observed to be 14.18% and 17.35% by the trans-urethral MREIT with the J-substitution and harmonic B z algorithms respectively. The lower REs of 9.64% and 11.17% were achieved respectively when the standard deviation of noise was reduced to 0.05 nT. The simulation results demonstrate the feasibility of applying MREIT for prostate cancer detection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-581
Number of pages15
JournalPhysiological Measurement
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • cancer detection
  • finite element method
  • J-substitution algorithm
  • magnetic resonance electrical impedance tomography (MREIT)
  • prostate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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