This project proposes a neural network to estimate approximate posterior distribution of tracer kinetic parameters. Quantitative DCE-MRI provides voxel-wise estimates of tracer kinetic parameters that are valuable in the assessment of health and disease. These maps suffer from many known sources of variability. This variability is expensive to compute using current methods, and is typically not reported. Here, we demonstrate a novel approach for simultaneous estimation of tracer kinetic parameters and their uncertainty due to intrinsic characteristics of the tracer kinetic model, with very low computation time. We train and use a neural network to estimate the approximate joint posterior distribution of tracer kinetic parameters. Uncertainties are estimated for each voxel and are specific to the patient, exam, and lesion. We demonstrate the methods ability to produce accurate tracer kinetic maps. We compare predicted parameter ranges with uncertainties introduced by noise and by differences in post processing in a digital reference object. The predicted parameter ranges correlate well with tracer kinetic parameter ranges observed across different noise realizations and regression algorithms. We also demonstrate the value of this approach to differentiate significant from insignificant changes in brain tumor pharmacokinetics over time. This is achieved by enforcing consistency in resolving model singularities in the applied tracer kinetic model. This project is implemented with MATLAB software.

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