Purpose: This study aimed to evaluate pretreatment whole-tumor mean apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and ADC histogram as predictors of outcome to chemoradiation in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).
Materials and methods: Patients with HNSCC underwent pretreatment 3-T diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging with calculation of mean ADC and ADC histograms. Outcomes were determined 2 years after chemoradiation. Positive outcome was defined as no abnormal 18-fluoro deoxy glucose uptake on posttherapy computed tomography-positron emission tomography (or abnormal uptake that was proven benign), no locoregional recurrence or metastatic disease, and no requirement for salvage surgery. Negative outcome was defined as residual abnormal 18-fluoro deoxy glucose avidity that was proven malignant, salvage surgery requirement, locoregional recurrence or metastatic disease, death, or a combination of these. A 2-sample t test was used to compare the mean ADC between patients with positive and negative outcomes. The ADC cut point for dividing the groups was determined by looking at its distribution. A Kaplan-Meier plot was produced, and a log-rank test was conducted with calculation of sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values.
Results: Nine patients showed positive and 8 showed negative outcomes. Significant difference (P = 0.03) was seen in mean ADC (in 10 mm/s) between patients showing positive and negative outcomes (1.18 and 1.43, respectively). According to the log-rank test, tumors with greater than 45% of their volume below the ADC threshold of 1.15 × 10 mm/s were more likely to have a positive outcome (accuracy, 77%).
Conclusions: Patients with HNSCC demonstrating lower pretreatment ADC and with greater than 45% of volume below ADC threshold of 1.15 × 10 mm/s may have better outcome to chemoradiation at 2 years.