Prostate Cancer Diffusion-Weighted Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Does the Choice of Diffusion-Weighting Level Matter?

Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging plays an important role in multiparametric assessment of prostate lesions. The derived apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) could be a useful quantitative biomarker for malignant growth, but lacks acceptance because of low reproducibility.

To investigate the impact of the choice of diffusion-weighting levels (b-values) on contrast-to-noise ratio and quantitative measures in prostate diffusion-weighted MRI.

Retrospective and simulation based on published data.

Patient cohort (21 men with Prostate Imaging-Reporting and Data System (PI-RADS) version 2 score ≥3) from a single-center study.

3 T/diffusion-weighted imaging with single-shot echo-planar imaging.

Both clinical data and simulations based on previously acquired data were used to quantify the influence of b-value choice in normal peripheral zone (PZ) and PZ tumor lesions. For clinical data, ADC was determined for different combinations of b-values. Contrast-to-noise ratio and quantitative diffusion measures were simulated for a wide range of b-values.

Tissue ADC and the lesion-to-normal tissue ADC ratios of different b-value combinations were compared with paired two-tailed Student's t-tests. A P-value <0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Findings about b-value dependence derived from clinical data and from simulations agreed with each other. Provided measurement was limited to two b-values, simulation-derived optimal b-value choices coincided with PI-RADSv2 recommendations. For two-point measurements, ADC decreased by 15% when the maximum b-value increased from 1000 to 1500 seconds/mm2 , but corresponding lesion-to-normal tissue ADC ratio showed no significant change (P = 0.86 for acquired data). Simulations with three or more measurement points produced ADCs that declined by only 8% over this range of maximum b-value. Corresponding ADC ratios declined between 2.6% (three points) and 3.8% (21 points). Simulations also revealed an ADC reduction of about 19% with the shorter echo and diffusion time evaluated.

The comprehensive assessment of b-value dependence permits better formulation of protocol and analysis recommendations for obtaining reproducible results in prostate cancer diffusion-weighted MRI.


Journal of magnetic resonance imaging : JMRI. 2021 Sep 18 [Epub ahead of print]

Stephan E Maier, Jonas Wallström, Fredrik Langkilde, Jens Johansson, Stefan Kuczera, Jonas Hugosson, Mikael Hellström

Department of Radiology, Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden., Department of Urology, Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.

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