T2 signal intensity as an imaging biomarker for patients with superficial Fibromatoses of the hands (Dupuytren's disease) and feet (Ledderhose disease) undergoing definitive electron beam irradiation

Skeletal Radiol. 2018 Feb;47(2):243-251. doi: 10.1007/s00256-017-2792-5. Epub 2017 Oct 30.


Objective: Electron beam therapy is a definitive radiation treatment option for superficial fibromatoses of the hands and feet. Because objective criteria for treatment response remain poorly defined, we sought to describe changes in electron beam treated lesions on MRI.

Materials and methods: The study included 1 male and 9 female patients with a total of 37 superficial fibromatoses; average age was 60.7 years. Standard 6 MeV electron beam treatment included 3 Gy per fraction for 10 or 12 treatments using split-course with 3-month halfway break. Pre- and post-treatment MRIs were evaluated to determine lesion size (cm3), T2 signal intensity and contrast enhancement (5-point ordinal scales) by a fellowship trained musculoskeletal radiologist. MRI findings were correlated with clinical response using a composite 1-5 ordinal scale, Karnofsky Performance Scale and patient-reported 10-point visual analog scale for pain.

Results: Mean volume decreased from 1.5 to 1.2 cm3 (p = 0.01, paired t-test). Mean T2 hyperintensity score decreased from 3.0 to 2.1 (p < 0.0001, Wilcoxon signed-rank). Mean enhancement score available for 22 lesions decreased from 3.8 to 3.0 (p < 0.0001, Wilcoxon signed-rank). Performance scores improved from 78.9 ± 13.7 to 84.6 ± 6.9 (p = 0.007, paired t-test). Pain scores decreased from 3.0 ± 3.3 to 1.1 ± 2.0 (p = 0.0001, paired t-test). Post-treatment T2 signal correlated weakly with performance and pain (Spearman's ρ = -0.37 and 0.16, respectively).

Conclusions: MRI is valuable for evaluating patients undergoing electron beam therapy for superficial fibromatoses: higher pretreatment T2 intensity may predict benefit from radiotherapy. T2 hypointensity may be a better marker than size for therapeutic effect.

Keywords: Dupuytren; Electron beam therapy; Ledderhose; Radiation oncology; Radiotherapy; Superficial fibromatosis.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Contrast Media
  • Dupuytren Contracture / diagnostic imaging*
  • Dupuytren Contracture / radiotherapy*
  • Female
  • Fibromatosis, Plantar / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fibromatosis, Plantar / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Contrast Media