Objective: To design a whole-body MR protocol using exclusively diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) with respiratory gating and to assess its value for lesion detection and staging in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), with integrated FDG PET/CT as the reference standard.
Methods: Fifteen patients underwent both whole-body DWI (b = 50, 400, 800 s/mm(2)) and PET/CT for pretreatment staging. Lymph node and organ involvement were evaluated by qualitative and quantitative image analysis, including measurement of the mean apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC).
Results: A total of 296 lymph node regions in the 15 patients were analysed. Based on International Working Group size criteria alone, DWI findings matched PET/CT findings in 277 regions (94%) (kappa score = 0.85, P < 0.0001), yielding sensitivity and specificity for DWI lymph node involvement detection of 90% and 94%. Combining visual ADC analysis with size measurement increased DWI specificity to 100% with 81% sensitivity. For organ involvement, the two techniques agreed in all 20 recorded organs (100%). All involved organ lesions showed restricted diffusion. Ann Arbor stages agreed in 14 (93%) of the 15 patients.
Conclusion: Whole-body DWI with ADC analysis can potentially be used for lesion detection and staging in patients with DLBCL.