Background and purpose: The purpose of this work was to evaluate whether diffusion-weighted MR imaging can be used in differentiating residual or recurrent head and neck tumors from postoperative or postradiation changes.
Materials and methods: This study included 32 patients clinically suspected for recurrent head and neck tumor after surgery (n=3), radiation therapy (n=13), or both (n=16). Diffusion-weighted MR imaging was done by using a single-shot spin-echo echo-planar sequence. The apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) value of the suspected lesion was calculated and correlated with pathologic results.
Results: Adequate diffusion-weighted MR images and ADC maps were obtained in 30 patients (93.8%). The mean ADC value of residual or recurrent lesions (1.17 +/- 0.33 x 10(-3) mm(2)/s) was less than that of posttherapeutic changes (2.07 +/- 0.25 x 10(-3) mm(2)/s), and the difference was statistically significant (P<.001). When an ADC value of 1.30 x 10(-3) mm(2)/s was used as a threshold value for differentiation, the best results were obtained with an accuracy of 87%, sensitivity of 84%, specificity of 90%, positive predictive value of 94%, and negative predictive value of 76%.
Conclusions: Diffusion-weighted MR imaging with ADC measurement has promising results for differentiating residual or recurrent head and neck tumors from postoperative or postradiation changes.