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Radiol Med. 2014 Aug;119(8):625-33. doi: 10.1007/s11547-013-0379-3. Epub 2014 Jan 10.

Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging in the prediction and assessment of chemotherapy outcome in liver metastases.

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Department of Experimental and Clinical Biomedical Sciences, University of Florence, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Careggi, Florence, Italy.



This study assessed the capability of magnetic resonance (MR) diffusion-weighted imaging (DwI) with measurement of apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) in both predicting and evaluating the response to chemotherapy (CHT) of liver metastases by itself and along with preliminary dimensional assessment.


Patients affected by liver metastases from cancers of the digestive tract and breast were prospectively enrolled and underwent computed tomography and MR-DwI before CHT (time 0) and 20-25 days after the beginning of the second cycle (time 3). Moreover, MR-DwI was performed 10-15 (time 1) and 20-25 days (time 2) after the beginning of the first cycle. Maximum diameter and mean ADC value (×10(-3) mm(2)/s) of metastases were evaluated. Lesions were classified as progressive disease (PD), stable disease (SD) or partial response (PR) according to dimensional changes between time 0 and time 3, following RECIST 1.1 indications. Clinically, PD lesions were defined as nonresponding (NR), and SD and PR lesions as responding (R). Analysis of variance and ROC analyses were performed (significance at p < 0.05).


Eighty-six metastases (33 patients) were classified as follows: 15 PD, 39 SD and 32 PR without significant differences in mean ADC values among the groups before CHT and at all corresponding times. The mean ADC values of SD and PR groups at times 1 (respectively 1.66 ± 0.36 and 1.59 ± 0.23), 2 (1.72 ± 0.42 and 1.68 ± 0.37) and 3 (1.86 ± 0.44 and 1.73 ± 0.39) were significantly higher than the corresponding values at time 0 (1.50 ± 0.30 and 1.39 ± 0.33). An accurate cutoff value of ADC increase or diameter decrease for the early identification of R or NR lesions was not found.


The pretreatment ADC value of a liver metastasis does not seem useful in predicting the CHT outcome. A trend towards early ADC increase, alone or occurring with dimensional decrease, may be a good indicator of a responding lesion.

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