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To assess relative forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1/vital capacity (VC)) in healthy subjects and patients with a lung tumor using dynamic magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) parameters.In 15 healthy volunteers and 31 patients with a non-small-cell lung carcinoma stage I (NSCLC I), diaphragmatic length change (LE1) and craniocaudal (CC) intrathoracic distance change within one second from maximal inspiration (DE1) were divided by total length change (LEtotal, DEtotal) as a surrogate of spirometric FEV1/VC using a true fast imaging with steady-state precession (trueFISP) sequence (TE/TR = 1.7/37.3 msec, temporal resolution = 3 images/second). Influence of tumor localization was examined.In healthy volunteers FEV1/VC showed a highly significant correlation with LE1/LEtotal and DE1/DEtotal (r > 0.9, P < 0.01). In stage IB tumor patients, comparing tumor-bearing with the non-tumor-bearing hemithorax, there was a significant difference in tumors of the middle (LE1/LEtotal = 0.63 ± 0.05 vs. 0.73 ± 0.04, DE1/DEtotal = 0.66 ± 0.05 vs. 0.72 ± 0.04; P < 0.05) and lower (P < 0.05) lung region. Stage IA tumor patients showed no significant differences with regard to healthy subjects.dMRI is a simple noninvasive method to locally determine LE1/LEtotal and DE1/DEtotal as a surrogate of FEV1/VC in volunteers and patients. Tumors of the middle and lower lung regions have a significant influence on these MRI parameters. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2005;21:212–218. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.