Purpose: To prospectively evaluate diffusion-weighted (DW) magnetic resonance (MR) imaging with a split acquisition of fast spin-echo signals for diffusion imaging (SPLICE) sequence for tissue characterization of lung carcinomas by using apparent diffusion coefficients (ADCs).
Materials and methods: An institutional review board approved this study; informed consent was obtained from patients. Thirty patients (nine women, 21 men; mean age, 68.0 years) with lung carcinoma underwent DW MR imaging with the SPLICE sequence. ADC of each lung carcinoma was calculated from DW MR images obtained with low and high b values. ADCs of lung carcinomas were statistically compared among histologic types. Nine surgically excised lung carcinomas were evaluated for correlation between ADCs and tumor cellularities. Analysis of variance was used to determine changes in ADCs and histologic lung carcinoma types. Spearman rank correlation was calculated between ADCs and tumor cellularities.
Results: ADCs for lung carcinomas were 1.63 x 10(-3) mm(2)/sec +/- 0.5 (mean +/- standard deviation) for squamous cell carcinoma, 2.12 x 10(-3) mm(2)/sec +/- 0.6 for adenocarcinoma, 1.30 x 10(-3) mm(2)/sec +/- 0.4 for large-cell carcinoma, and 2.09 x 10(-3) mm(2)/sec +/- 0.3 for small-cell carcinoma. ADC of adenocarcinoma was significantly higher than that of squamous cell carcinoma and large-cell carcinoma (P < .05). ADCs were 1.59 x 10(-3) mm(2)/sec +/- 0.5 and 1.70 x 10(-3) mm(2)/sec +/- 0.4 for moderately and poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinoma, respectively. ADCs were 2.52 x 10(-3) mm(2)/sec +/- 0.4 and 1.44 x 10(-3) mm(2)/sec +/- 0.3 for well- and poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma, respectively. ADC of well-differentiated adenocarcinoma was significantly higher than that of moderately and poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinoma and poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma (P < .05). With the Spearman rank test, ADCs of lung carcinomas correlated well with tumor cellularities (Spearman coefficient, -0.75; P < .02).
Conclusion: ADCs of lung carcinomas overlap, but ADCs of well-differentiated adenocarcinoma appear to be higher than those of other histologic lung carcinoma types.