Magnetic resonance fingerprinting: from evolution to clinical applications

Jean J.L. Hsieh, Imants Svalbe

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


In 2013, Magnetic Resonance Fingerprinting (MRF) emerged as a method for fast, quantitative Magnetic Resonance Imaging. This paper reviews the current status of MRF up to early 2020 and aims to highlight the advantages MRF can offer medical imaging professionals. By acquiring scan data as pseudorandom samples, MRF elicits a unique signal evolution, or ‘fingerprint’, from each tissue type. It matches ‘randomised’ free induction decay acquisitions against pre-computed simulated tissue responses to generate a set of quantitative images of T1, T2 and proton density (PD) with co-registered voxels, rather than as traditional relative T1- and T2-weighted images. MRF numeric pixel values retain accuracy and reproducibility between 2% and 8%. MRF acquisition is robust to strong undersampling of k-space. Scan sequences have been optimised to suppress sub-sampling artefacts, while artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques have been employed to increase matching speed and precision. MRF promises improved patient comfort with reduced scan times and fewer image artefacts. Quantitative MRF data could be used to define population-wide numeric biomarkers that classify normal versus diseased tissue. Certification of clinical centres for MRF scan repeatability would permit numeric comparison of sequential images for any individual patient and the pooling of multiple patient images across large, cross-site imaging studies. MRF has to date shown promising results in early clinical trials, demonstrating reliable differentiation between malignant and benign prostate conditions, and normal and sclerotic hippocampal tissue. MRF is now undergoing small-scale trials at several sites across the world; moving it closer to routine clinical application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-344
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Medical Radiation Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Biomarkers
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • MR fingerprinting
  • quantitative MRI
  • reproducibility of results

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