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Acad Radiol. 2012 May;19(5):526-34. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2011.11.003. Epub 2011 Dec 22.

High-resolution diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging in patients with locally advanced breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, University of California, San Francisco, 1600 Divisadero Street, Box 1667, San Francisco, CA 94115-1667, USA.



The aim of this study was to evaluate differences in tumor depiction and measured tumor apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) with the use of a high-resolution diffusion-weighted (DW) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequence, compared to a standard DW MRI sequence, in patients with locally advanced breast cancer.


Patients with locally advanced breast cancer were scanned with a reduced-field of view (rFOV) DW MRI sequence (high resolution) and a standard-field of view diffusion sequence (standard resolution), and differences between the two sequences were evaluated quantitatively (by calculating tumor ADC distribution parameters) and qualitatively (by radiologists' visual assessments of images).


Although the mean tumor ADC for both sequences was similar, differences were found in other parameters, including the 12.5th percentile (P = .042) and minimum tumor ADC (P = .003). Qualitatively, visualization of tumor morphologic detail, heterogeneity, and conspicuity was improved with rFOV DW MRI, and image quality was higher.


Differences in ADC distribution parameters and qualitative image features suggest that the sequences differ in their ability to capture tumor heterogeneity. These differences are not apparent when the mean is used to evaluate tumor ADC. In particular, differences found in lower ADC values are compatible with reduced partial voluming in rFOV DW MRI, suggesting that rFOV DW MRI may be valuable in imaging the lower ADCs expected to correspond to viable tumor in most invasive breast cancers.

Copyright © 2012 AUR. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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