Intracranial epidermoid cysts: diffusion-weighted, FLAIR and conventional MR findings

Eur J Radiol. 2005 May;54(2):214-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2004.06.018.


Purpose: To compare diffusion-weighted echo-planar imaging (DW) with spin-echo (SE), and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) sequences in the evaluation of epidermoid cysts (ECs), and to evaluate T2 shine-through effect.

Materials and methods: Fifteen patients were imaged prospectively in two different 1.5 T magnetic resonance (MR) units with standard head coils with SE, FLAIR and DW echo planar imaging sequences. The qualitative and quantitative assessments were performed by two radiologists in consensus. Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values were obtained from all ECs. Exponential DW images are obtained in 11 cases to eliminate T2 shine-through effects. The results are analyzed with variance analysis (ANOVA) and Bonferroni t method.

Results: FLAIR sequence was superior to T1- and T2-weighted sequences in showing ECs. In 13 cases, the borders of the lesions could be delineated from the surrounding structures with only DW imaging where ECs were markedly hyperintense. The ADC values of ECs are significantly lower than CSF (P < 0.001), and significantly higher than deep white matter (P < 0.01). On exponential DW images, ECs had similar intensity with brain parenchyma showing that the real cause of the hyperintensity of the lesions on trace images is the enhanced T2 effect of the tissue.

Conclusion: FLAIR sequence is superior to the conventional MR sequences in demonstrating the ECs and DW imaging is superior to other MR sequences in delineating the borders of the ECs. Exponential DW images had shown that the hyperintensity in the trace images are caused by increased T2 effect of the lesion rather than the decrease in ADC values.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Echo-Planar Imaging / methods
  • Epidermal Cyst / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Prospective Studies