Original Article

Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 36, Issue 12, pp 1306-1311

First online:

Evaluation of tumour necrosis during chemotherapy with diffusion-weighted MR imaging: preliminary results in osteosarcomas

  • Markus UhlAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology, University Hospital Email author 
  • , Ulrich SaueressigAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology, University Hospital
  • , Gabriele KoehlerAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, University Hospital
  • , Udo KontnyAffiliated withChildren’s Hospital, University Hospital
  • , Charlotte NiemeyerAffiliated withDepartment of Paediatric Oncology, University Hospital
  • , Wilfried ReichardtAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Physics, University Hospital
  • , Kamil IlyasofAffiliated withDepartment of Medical Physics, University Hospital
  • , Thorsten BleyAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology, University Hospital
  • , Mathias LangerAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology, University Hospital

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During successful chemotherapy of osteosarcomas tumour size does not diminish significantly because the therapy has limited impact on the mineralized matrix of the tumour. Treatment response is considered successful if, histologically, more than 90% of tumour cells show necrosis.


To determine if osteosarcomas change their water diffusion during preoperative chemotherapy in relation to the amount of tumour necrosis.

Materials and Methods

Eight patients (age 11–19 years) with histologically proven limb osteosarcoma underwent T1-weighted, fat-suppressed T2-weighted and contrast-enhanced T1-weighted spin-echo imaging together with diffusion-weighted EPI sequences (b = 700) at 1.5 T before and after five cycles of standard chemotherapy. Tumour volume and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps were calculated before and after chemotherapy. The degree of tumour necrosis after chemotherapy was assessed using the histological Salzer-Kuntschik classification (grades 1–6).


During chemotherapy, the ADC values of osteosarcomas changed significantly. The ADC of untreated tumour was 2.1 ± 0.4 × 10−3 mm2/s (mean ± SD) (95% CI 1.6–2.0). The ADC of chemotherapy-treated sarcomas was 2.5 ± 0.4 × 10−3 mm2/s (95% CI 1.8–2.2). Necrotic areas, which were confirmed by macroscopic examination, showed ADC values up to 2.7 × 10−3 mm2/s. Four patients with little viable tumour tissue within the neoplasm (Salzer-Kuntschik grades 1–2) had an increase in ADC of 0.4 up to 0.7 × 10−3 mm2/s. Four patients with larger areas of viable tumour (Salzer-Kuntschik grade 4) showed a lesser increase in ADC of 0.0 up to 0.3 × 10−3 mm2/s. The differences in ADC values in tumour tissue before and after chemotherapy were highly significant (P = 0.01).


During chemotherapy of osteosarcomas, tumour ADC changes are related to the degree of tumour necrosis.


Osteosarcoma Diffusion-weighted MRI Children