Detection of the index tumour and tumour volume in prostate cancer using T2-weighted and diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) alone

BJU Int. 2014 Dec;114(6b):E32-E42. doi: 10.1111/bju.12637.


Objective: To examine the performance of T2-weighted (T2W) and diffusion-weighted (DW) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for detecting the index tumour in patients with prostate cancer and to examine the agreement between MRI and histology when assessing tumour volume (TV) and overall tumour burden.

Patients and methods: The study included 199 consecutive patients with biopsy confirmed prostate cancer randomised to MRI before radical prostatectomy from December 2009 to July 2012. MRI-detected tumours (MRTs) were ranked from 1 to 3 according to decreasing volume and were compared with histologically detected tumours (HTs) ranked from 1 to 3, with HT 1 = index tumour. Whole-mount section histology was used as a reference standard. The TVs of true-positive MRTs (MRTVs 1-3) were compared with the TVs found by histology (HTVs 1-3). All tumours were registered on a 30-sector map and by classifying each sector as positive/negative, the rate of true-positive and -negative sectors was calculated.

Results: The detection rate for the HT 1 (index tumour) was 92%; HT 2, 45%; and HT 3, 37%. The MRTV 1-3 vs the HTV 1-3 were 2.8 mL vs 4.0 mL (index tumour, P < 0.001), 1.0 mL vs 0.9 mL (tumour 2, P = 0.413), and 0.6 mL vs 0.5 mL (tumour 3, P = 0.492). The rate of true-positive and -negative sectors was 50% and 88%, κ = 0.39.

Conclusion: A combination of T2W and DW MRI detects the index tumour in 92% of cases, although MRI underestimates both TV and tumour burden compared with histology.

Keywords: MRI; diffusion-weighted MRI; index tumour; prostate cancer; tumour volume.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Tumor Burden*