Background and purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the use of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in the evaluation of new contrast-enhancing lesions and perilesional edema in patients previously treated for brain neoplasm in the differentiation of recurrent neoplasm from treatment-related injury.
Methods: Twenty-eight patients with new contrast-enhancing lesions and perilesional edema at the site of previously treated brain neoplasms were retrospectively reviewed. Nine directional echoplanar DTIs with b=1000 s/mm(2) were obtained using a single-shot spin-echo echoplanar imaging. Standardized regions of interest were manually drawn in several regions. Mean apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), fractional anisotropy (FA) and eigenvalue indices (lambda( parallel) and lambda( perpendicular)) and their ratios relative to the contralateral side were compared in patients with recurrent neoplasm versus patients with radiation injury, as established by histological examination or by clinical course, including long-term imaging studies and magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
Results: The ADC values in the contrast-enhancing lesions were significantly higher (P=.01) for the recurrence group (range=1.01 x 10(-3) to 1.66 x 10(-3) mm(2)/s; mean+/-S.D.=1.27+/-0.15) than for the nonrecurrence group (range=0.9 x 10(-3) to 1.31 x 10(-3) mm(2)/s; mean+/-S.D.=1.12+/-0.14). The ADC ratios in the white matter tracts in perilesional edema trended higher (P=.09) in treatment-related injury than in recurrent neoplasm (mean+/-S.D.=1.85+/-0.30 vs. 1.60+/-0.27, respectively). FA ratios were significantly higher in normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) tracts adjacent to the edema in the nonrecurrence group (mean+/-S.D.=0.89+/-0.15) than in those in the recurrence group (mean+/-S.D.=0.74+/-0.14; P=.03). Both eigenvalue indices lambda( parallel) and lambda( perpendicular) were significantly higher in contrast-enhancing lesions in the recurrence group than in those in the nonrecurrence group (P=.02). As well, both eigenvalue indices lambda( parallel) and lambda( perpendicular) were significantly higher in perilesional edema than in normal white matter (P<.01 and P<.001, respectively) in both groups.
Conclusion: The assessment of diffusion properties, especially ADC values and ADC ratios, in contrast-enhancing lesions, perilesional edema and NAWM adjacent to the edema in the follow-up of new contrast-enhancing lesions at the site of previously treated brain neoplasms may add to the information obtained by other imaging techniques in the differentiation of radiation injury from tumor recurrence.