European Radiology

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 447–457 | Cite as

Discrimination of paediatric brain tumours using apparent diffusion coefficient histograms

  • Jonathan G. Bull
  • Dawn E. Saunders
  • Christopher A. ClarkEmail author



To determine if histograms of apparent diffusion coefficients (ADC) can be used to differentiate paediatric brain tumours.


Imaging of histologically confirmed tumours with pre-operative ADC maps were reviewed (54 cases, 32 male, mean age 6.1 years; range 0.1–15.8 years) comprising 6 groups. Whole tumour ADC histograms were calculated; normalised for volume. Stepwise logistic regression analysis was used to differentiate tumour types using histogram metrics, initially for all groups and then for specific subsets.


All 6 groups (5 dysembryoplastic neuroectodermal tumours, 22 primitive neuroectodermal tumours (PNET), 5 ependymomas, 7 choroid plexus papillomas, 4 atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumours (ATRT) and 9 juvenile pilocytic astrocytomas (JPA)) were compared. 74% (40/54) were correctly classified using logistic regression of ADC histogram parameters. In the analysis of posterior fossa tumours, 80% of ependymomas, 100% of astrocytomas and 94% of PNET-medulloblastoma were classified correctly. All PNETs were discriminated from ATRTs (22 PNET and 4 supratentorial ATRTs) (100%).


ADC histograms are useful in differentiating paediatric brain tumours, in particular, the common posterior fossa tumours of childhood. PNETs were differentiated from supratentorial ATRTs, in all cases, which has important implications in terms of clinical management.

Key Points

MR based apparent diffusion coefficient histograms can help differentiate paediatric brain tumours

ADC histogram parameters correctly classified the great majority of posterior fossa tumours


Diffusion MRI Pediatric Brain Tumor Apparent diffusion coefficient 


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan G. Bull
    • 1
  • Dawn E. Saunders
    • 2
  • Christopher A. Clark
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Imaging and Biophysics UnitUCL Institute of Child HealthLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyGreat Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS TrustLondonUK

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