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We are located at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in Seattle, WA. SCCA provides world class patient care while engaging in cutting edge cancer research. Read more »


The QBI lab brings together a world class team of physicians and scientists to improve clinical imaging of breast cancer. Our research focuses on developing new techniques for imaging breast cancer with MRI, including implementing and testing new scanner sequences and facilitating the transition of research scans from academic research to clinical use.

Philips_Achieva_3T_MRI.jpg Philips Achieve 3T scanner Our location in the SCCA breast imaging center gives us unique insight into the working clinic. It allows us to collaborate with physicians and focus on solutions that have the highest impact for patient care. Two of our main research areas are advanced dynamic contrast enhanced (DCE) MR for pharmacokinetics analysis and diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) for characterizing cellularity and microstructure. Clinical research is performed on a state of the art Philips Achieva 3T MRI scanner with 16 channel breast coil.
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DWI offers promise for discriminating benign and malignant lesions, making it a potential method for reducing the number of unnecessary biopsies. Read more »


DW MRI is a short non-contrast sequence that can be easily inserted into clinical breast MRI protocols to provide complementary information for lesion characterization.

Partridge S, et al. AJR 2009
A previous study of 83 suspicious breast lesions that underwent biopsy based on DCE-MRI (BIRADS 4, 5), malignant lesions (invasive and DCIS) exhibited low ADC values, while a large fraction of benign lesions were high in ADC. Results suggested that implementing an ADC cutoff to BI-RADS assessment on decision of whether or not to biopsy could reduce false positives without missing any cancers

Slide Image: An example of how ADC measures can help with lesion characterization, where malignancies typically exhibit lower ADC values than benign lesions.

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Treatment Response

Promising research suggests that functional imaging methods can reflect treatment response early in the course of therapy, prior to changes in lesion size, and may play a valuable role in personalizing therapies. Read more »

Treatment Response

Our work focuses on development of robust quantitative imaging biomarkers to assess and predict response to breast cancer therapy. Advanced magnetic resonance imaging techniques provide unique characterization of tumor physiologic properties in vivo. In particular, DCE MRI reflects tumor perfusion and DW MRI reflects cellularity and microstructure. We also investigate how these MR features are predictive of prognostic pathological markers (e.g., tumor grade, Ki-67, ER/PR, HER2 expression).

ktransSER_fig.jpg (A,D) DCE-MRI image showing tumor enhancement. (C,F) Pharmacokinetic map (Ktrans) based on Tofts-Kety modeling.
(UW/Philips Healthcare Study, PI: Partridge)

Slide Image: After 1 cycle of treatment, lesion shows less aggresive kinetics before any substantial changes in size.
(ACRIN 6657, 6698 Multisite Trials)

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Breast cancer detection through screening can improve survival. DW MRI may offer a viable non-contrast method of breast MR screening without the costs and toxicity associated with DCE MRI. Read more »


DW MRI may offer a viable non-contrast method of breast MR screening without the costs and toxicity associated with DCE MRI. Promising recent studies have shown that many breast cancers are detectable on DW MRI and that benign and malignant breast lesions exhibit differences in diffusion rates.

Slide Image: 58-year-old woman with dense breasts and mammographically occult invasive ductal carcinoma. Patient underwent high-risk screening MRI due to a of a strong family history of breast cancer. Shown are negative x-ray mammogram; (Top Image) DCE maximum intensity projection and T1-weighted dynamic contrast-enhanced MR image, showing an enhancing 8-mm mass (arrow); (Bottom Image) axial DW image (b value= 800 s/mm2) showing hyperintensity (arrow), and ADC map showing low diffusivity of lesion (arrow) (mean ADC = 1.45 10-3 mm2/s).
(McDonald ES, et al. Performance of DWI as a Rapid Unenhanced Technique for Detecting Mammographically Occult Breast Cancer in Elevated-Risk Women With Dense Breasts. AJR 2016;207:112)

Welcome to the QBI Lab

Our research group focuses on optimizing magnetic resonance imaging for extending clinical usage and for increasing our understanding of breast cancer. The QBI lab brings together a world class team of physicians and scientists to investigate new imaging techniques and to develop robust quantitative imaging biomarkers. Our primary research focuses are diagnostics, treatment response, and screening, by utilizing new imaging protocols such as diffusion weighted imaging and advanced contrast enhanced MRI.

About Seattle Cancer Care Alliace

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is a world-class cancer treatment center that unites doctors from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine and Seattle Children's.

About UW Radiology

The Department of Radiology at the University of Washington is an academic department providing highly specialized care to patients through state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging or imaging-guided therapies.