Diffusion-Weighted MR Imaging of the Renal and Adrenal Glands

  • Nagaraj Holalkere
  • Stephan Anderson
  • Jorge A. Soto


DWI with apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) measurements potentially provides a noninvasive method for discriminating benign from malignant renal and adrenal lesions using molecular criteria. The potential applications of DWI in the evaluation of focal renal masses are lesion detection, and alternative to contrast-enhanced MRI, monitoring response to treatment and differentiation of simple hydronephrosis from pyonephrosis. Malignant lesions tend to show lower ADC values than benign solid and cystic lesions. Furthermore, DWI can be used to differentiate solid renal cell carcinomas (RCCs) from oncocytomas and characterize the histologic subtypes of RCC. Besides, a significant difference between the diffusion properties of clear cell and nonclear cell RCCs has been achieved, which is important in the therapeutic management. The different characteristics and microstructure of the different components of renal parenchyma have been explored with DTI, allowing for accurate differentiation of renal cortex and medulla. There is evidence of reduced ADC values in cases of diffuse renal disease as acute and especially renal chronic failure, ischemia, infection, and inflammatory conditions. Besides, DWI has potential to characterize benign from malignant adrenal lesions by means of ADC measurements. Nevertheless, in the limited available series, there are contradictory results in the capabilities of DWI in the characterization of adrenal masses, with more data favoring the absence of a significant difference between the adenomas and malignant lesions.


Renal Cell Carcinoma Apparent Diffusion Coefficient Restricted Diffusion Renal Lesion Adrenal Adenoma 
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Further Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nagaraj Holalkere
    • 1
  • Stephan Anderson
    • 1
  • Jorge A. Soto
    • 1
  1. 1.Radiology DepartmentBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA

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