Additional value of diffusion-weighted imaging to evaluate multifocal and multicentric breast cancer detected using pre-operative breast MRI

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Objectives: To investigate whether diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) aids pre-operative dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) to evaluate additional lesions in breast cancer patients. Methods: DCE-MRI and DWI were performed on 131 lesions, with available histopathological results. The apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) of each lesion was measured, and the cut-off value for differentiation between malignant and benign lesions was calculated. A protocol combining the ADC cut-off value with DCE-MRI was validated in a cohort of 107 lesions in 77 patients. Results: When an ADC cut-off value of 1.11 × 10-3 mm2/s from the development cohort was applied to the additional lesions in the validation cohort, the specificity increased from 18.9% to 67.6% (P < 0.001), and the diagnostic accuracy increased from 61.7% to 82.2% (P = 0.05), without significant loss of sensitivity (98.6% vs. 90.0%, P = 0.07). The negative predictive values of lesions in the same quadrant had decreased, as had those of lesions ≥1 cm in diameter. The ADC cut-off value in the validation cohort was 1.05 × 10-3 mm2/s. Conclusions: Additional implementation of DWI for breast lesions in pre-operative MRI can help to obviate unnecessary biopsies by increasing specificity. However, to avoid missing cancers, clinicians should closely monitor lesions located in the same quadrant or lesions ≥1 cm. Key Points: • DWI can be used to further differentiate lesions during pre-operative cancer staging. • ADC cut-off values were similar in the development and validation cohorts. • DWI improves both PPV and NPV in cases of multicentric lesions. • DWI improves both PPV and NPV in lesions <1 in diameter. • NPVs are decreased in multifocal lesions and lesions ≥1 cm in diameter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4819-4827
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov 1



  • Apparent diffusion coefficient
  • Breast magnetic resonance imaging
  • Breast neoplasm
  • Diffusion-weighted imaging
  • Staging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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