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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2001 May;22(5):969-76.

Diffusion-weighted MR imaging of intracerebral masses: comparison with conventional MR imaging and histologic findings.

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Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging, University Hospital V.U.B., Laarbeeklaan 101, 1090 Brussels, Belgium.



The purposes of this study were to find the role of diffusion-weighted MR imaging in characterizing intracerebral masses and to find a correlation, if any, between the different parameters of diffusion-weighted imaging and histologic analysis of tumors. The usefulness of diffusion-weighted imaging and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps in tumor delineation was evaluated. Contrast with white matter and ADC values for tumor components with available histology were also evaluated.


Twenty patients with clinical and routine MR imaging/CT evidence of intracerebral neoplasm were examined with routine MR imaging and echo-planar diffusion-weighted imaging. The routine MR imaging included at least the axial T2-weighted fast spin-echo and axial T1-weighted spin-echo sequences before and after contrast enhancement. The diffusion-weighted imaging included an echo-planar spin-echo sequence with three b values (0, 300, and 1200 s/mm(2)), sensitizing gradient in the z direction, and calculated ADC maps. The visual comparison of routine MR images with diffusion-weighted images for tumor delineation was performed as was the statistical analysis of quantitative diffusion-weighted imaging parameters with histologic evaluation.


For tumors, the diffusion-weighted images and ADC maps of gliomas were less useful than the T2-weighted spin-echo and contrast-enhanced T1-weighted spin-echo images in definition of tumor boundaries. Additionally, in six cases of gliomas, neither T2-weighted spin-echo nor diffusion-weighted images were able to show a boundary between tumor and edema, which was present on contrast-enhanced T1-weighted and/or perfusion echo-planar images. The ADC values of solid gliomas, metastases, and meningioma were in the same range. In two cases of lymphomas, there was a good contrast with white matter, with strongly reduced ADC values. For infection, the highest contrast on diffusion-weighted images and lowest ADC values were observed in association with inflammatory granuloma and abscess.


Contrary to the findings of previous studies, we found no clear advantage of diffusion-weighted echo-planar imaging in the evaluation of tumor extension. The contrast between gliomas, metastases, meningioma, and white matter was generally lower on diffusion-weighted images and ADC maps compared with conventional MR imaging. Unlike gliomas, the two cases of lymphomas showed hyperintense signal on diffusion-weighted images whereas the case of cerebral abscess showed the highest contrast on diffusion-weighted images with very low ADC values. Further study is required to find out whether this may be useful in the differentiation of gliomas and metastasis from lymphoma and abscess.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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