Diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging of the breast: a pilot study
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Diffusion-weighted MR imaging has shown diagnostic value for differential diagnosis of breast lesions. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) adds information about tissue microstructure by addressing diffusion direction. We have examined the diagnostic application of DTI of the breast.
A total of 59 patients (71 lesions: 54 malignant, 17 benign) successfully underwent prospective echo planar imaging–DTI (EPI-DTI) (1.5 T). First, diffusion direction both of parenchyma as well as lesions was assessed on parametric maps. Subsequently, apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) values were measured. Statistics included univariate (Mann–Whitney U test, receiver operating analysis) and multivariate (logistic regression analysis, LRA) tests.
Main diffusion direction of parenchyma was anterior–posterior in the majority of cases (66.1%), whereas lesions (benign, malignant) showed no predominant diffusion direction in the majority of cases (23.9%). ADC values showed highest differences between benign and malignant lesions (P < 0.001) with resulting area under the curve (AUC) of 0.899. FA values were lower in benign (interquartile range, IR, 0.14–0.24) compared to malignant lesions (IR 0.21–0.35, P < 0.002) with an AUC of 0.751–0.770. Following LRA, FA did not prove to have incremental value for differential diagnosis over ADC values.
Microanatomical differences between benign and malignant breast lesions as well as breast parenchyma can be visualized by using DTI.
KeywordsBreast MRI Diffusion tensor MRI MR mammography Sensitivity and specificity
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