Background and purpose: To apply a texture analysis of apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps to evaluate glioma heterogeneity, which was correlated with tumor grade.
Materials and methods: Forty patients with glioma (WHO grade II (n = 8), grade III (n = 10) and grade IV (n = 22)) underwent diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), and the corresponding ADC maps were obtained. Regions of interest containing the lesions were drawn on every section of the ADC map containing the tumor, and volume-based data of the entire tumor were constructed. Texture and first order features including entropy, skewness and kurtosis were derived from the ADC map using in-house software. A histogram analysis of the ADC map was also performed. The texture and histogram parameters were compared between low-grade and high-grade gliomas using an unpaired student's t-test. Additionally, a one-way analysis of variance analysis with a post-hoc test was performed to compare the parameters of each grade.
Results: Entropy was observed to be significantly higher in high-grade gliomas than low-grade tumors (6.861±0.539 vs. 6.261±0.412, P = 0.006). The fifth percentiles of the ADC cumulative histogram also showed a significant difference between high and low grade gliomas (836±235 vs. 1030±185, P = 0.037). Only entropy proved to be significantly different between grades III and IV (6.295±0.4963 vs. 7.119±0.3165, P<0.001). The diagnostic accuracy of ADC entropy was significantly higher than that of the fifth percentile of the ADC histogram (P = 0.0034) in distinguishing high- from low-grade glioma.
Conclusion: A texture analysis of the ADC map based on the entire tumor volume can be useful for evaluating glioma grade, which provides tumor heterogeneity.