Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate contrast-enhanced and diffusion-weighted MRI changes in neuroendocrine tumors treated with transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE).
Materials and methods: Sixty-six targeted lesions in 26 patients (18 men, eight women; mean age, 57 years) with hepatic metastasis of neuroendocrine tumors treated with TACE were retrospectively analyzed. MRI studies were performed before and after TACE. Imaging features included tumor size, percentage of enhancement in the arterial and portal venous phases, and diffusion-weighted imaging apparent diffusion coefficients (ADCs) of the tumor, liver, and spleen. Tumor response to treatment was recorded according to World Health Organization criteria and Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors. Liver function tests were performed, and clinical performance was assessed before and after treatment. Statistical analysis included paired Student's t tests and Kaplan-Meier survival curves.
Results: Mean tumor size and percentage enhancement in the arterial and portal venous phases decreased significantly after treatment (p < 0.0001). The tumor ADC increased from 1.51 x 10(-3) mm2/s before treatment to 1.79 x 10(-3) mm2/s after treatment (p < 0.0001), but the ADCs for the liver and spleen remained unchanged. Despite the change in tumor size, no patient in this cohort achieved complete response according to World Health Organization criteria and Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors. Partial response was achieved in only 27% and 23% of the patients according to the respective criteria. Results of liver function tests and performance status also remained unchanged. The mean survival period for all patients was 78 months.
Conclusion: Contrast-enhanced and diffusion-weighted imaging showed significant changes after TACE of neuroendocrine tumors and can be used to assess response of targeted tumors.