Purpose: To investigate relationships between magnetic resonance (MR) imaging measurements and the underlying composition of normal and malignant prostate tissue.
Materials and methods: Twenty-four patients (median age, 63 years; age range, 44-72 years) gave informed consent to be examined for this research ethics board-approved study. Before undergoing prostatectomy, patients were examined with T2-weighted, diffusion-weighted, T2 mapping, and dynamic contrast material-enhanced MR imaging at 1.5 T. Maps of apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), T2, volume transfer constant (K(trans)), and extravascular extracellular space (v(e)) were calculated. Whole-mount hematoxylin-eosin-stained sections were generated and digitized at histologic resolution. Percentage areas of tissue components (nuclei, cytoplasm, stroma, luminal space) were measured by using image segmentation. Corresponding regions on MR images and histologic specimens were defined by using anatomically defined segments in peripheral zone (PZ) and central gland tissue. Cancer and normal PZ regions were identified at histopathologic analysis. Each MR parameter-histologic tissue component pair was assessed by using linear mixed-effects models, and cancer versus normal PZ values were compared by using nonparametric tests.
Results: ADC and T2 were inversely related to percentage area of nuclei and percentage area of cytoplasm and positively related to percentage area of luminal space (P < or = .01). These trends were reversed for K(trans) (P < .001). K(trans) had a significantly negative (P = .01) slope versus percentage area of stroma, and v(e) had a positive (P = .008) slope versus percentage area of stroma. The v(e) was inversely proportional to the percentage area of nuclei (P = .05). All MR imaging parameters (P < or = .05) and the percentage areas of all tissue components (P < or = .001) except stroma (P > .48) were significantly different between cancer and normal PZ tissue.
Conclusion: MR imaging-derived parameters measured in the prostate were significantly related to the proportion of specific histologic components that differ between normal and malignant PZ tissue. These relationships may help define imaging-related histologic prognostic parameters for prostate cancer.