Use of quantitative diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging to predict human papilloma virus status in patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2014 May;271(5):1219-25. doi: 10.1007/s00405-013-2641-7. Epub 2013 Jul 24.


Although identification of human papilloma virus (HPV) status in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) is essential in predicting treatment response, no imaging modality can currently determine whether a tumor is HPV-related. In this retrospective study, 26 patients with OPSCC confined to the lateral wall or the base of tongue underwent neck magnetic resonance imaging, using T1-, T2- and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI). Apparent diffusion coefficients (ADCs) in a region of interest covering the largest available primary tumor area of OPSCC on a single slice of the ADC map were calculated using two b values (0 and 1,000 s/mm(2)). Mean and minimum ADCs were compared with HPV status, using p16 immunohistochemistry as a surrogate marker for HPV infection. Mean and minimum ADCs for HPV(+) OPSCC were significantly lower than those for HPV(-) OPSCC. A cut-off value of mean ADC for HPV(+) OPSCC of 1.027 × 10(-3) mm(2)/s yielded sensitivity and specificity of 83.33 and 78.57%, respectively. In conclusion, the present study indicates that ADC could be used to predict HPV status in patients with OPSCC.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / virology
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Female
  • Human papillomavirus 16*
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms / virology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Papillomavirus Infections / pathology
  • Papillomavirus Infections / virology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tongue / pathology
  • Tongue / virology
  • Tongue Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Tongue Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tongue Neoplasms / virology


  • Biomarkers