Role of PROPELLER diffusion-weighted imaging and apparent diffusion coefficient in the evaluation of pituitary adenomas

Eur J Radiol. 2011 Nov;80(2):412-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2010.05.023. Epub 2010 Jun 26.


Objective: The relationship between tumor consistency and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values is controversial. We evaluated the role of the ADC using an advanced diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) technique. We employed periodically rotated overlapping parallel lines with enhanced reconstruction (PROPELLER) DWI acquired on a 3-T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner to assess the consistency of pituitary adenomas and examined the relationship between the ADC and the hormone secretion status of the tumors and their MIB-1 labeling index (MIB-1 LI).

Materials and methods: The study protocol was approved by our institutional review board. We retrospectively studied 24 operated patients with pituitary adenomas who had undergone PROPELLER DWI on a 3-T MRI scanner. Conventional MRI findings were expressed as the ratio of the signal intensity (SI) in the lesions to the SI of the normal white matter and the degree of contrast enhancement. Minimum-, mean-, and maximum ADC (ADCmin, ADCmean, ADCmax) values were calculated. The consistency of the tumors was determined by neurosurgeons. All surgical specimens were submitted for histological study to calculate the MIB-1 LI and the percent collagen content. Preoperative MRI-, intraoperative-, and histological findings were analyzed by a statistician.

Results: Our study included 15 soft-, 5 fibrous-, and 4 hard tumors. Tumor consistency was strongly associated with the percent collagen content. However, neither the tumor consistency nor the percent collagen content was correlated with MRI findings or ADC values. The SI of growth hormone-producing adenomas on T2-WI was lower than of the other pituitary adenomas studied (p<0.01); no other significant difference was found in the ADC or on conventional MRI between pituitary adenomas with different secretory functions. The MIB-1 LI of pituitary adenomas was not correlated with their appearance on conventional MRI or their ADC values.

Conclusion: Using the PROPELLER DWI technique we confirmed that the ADC was not correlated with the consistency of pituitary adenomas. We also demonstrate that the ADC was not associated with the hormone-secreting status or the MIB-1 LI of pituitary adenomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / diagnosis*
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Adenoma / surgery
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Contrast Media
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Female
  • Gadolinium
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium