Orbital infantile hemangioma and rhabdomyosarcoma in children: differentiation using diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging

J AAPOS. 2018 Feb;22(1):27-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jaapos.2017.09.002. Epub 2017 Nov 4.


Purpose: To evaluate differences in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) appearance between infantile hemangiomas and rhabdomyosarcomas of the orbit in pediatric patients using diffusion-weighted imaging.

Methods: A multicenter retrospective review of MRIs of pediatric patients with infantile hemangiomas and rhabdomyosarcomas of the orbit was performed. MRI examinations from a total of 21 patients with infantile hemangiomas and 12 patients with rhabdomyosarcomas of the orbit were independently reviewed by two subspecialty board-certified neuroradiologists masked to the diagnosis. A freehand region of interest was placed in the mass to obtain the mean apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) value of the mass as well as within the medulla to obtain a ratio of the ADC mass to the medulla. A t test was used to compare mean ADC and ADC ratios between the two groups. Receiver operating characteristic analysis was performed to determine ADC value and ADC ratio thresholds for differentiation of infantile hemangioma and rhabdomyosarcoma.

Results: There was a statistically significant difference in the mean ADC value of infantile hemangiomas compared to rhabdomyosarcomas (1527 × 10-6 mm2/s vs 782 × 10-6 mm2/s; P = 0.0001) and the ADC ratio of the lesion to the medulla (1.77 vs 0.92; P = 0.0001). An ADC threshold of <1159 × 10-6 mm2/sec and an ADC ratio of <1.38 differentiated rhabdomyosarcoma from infantile hemangioma (sensitivity 100% and 100%; specificity 100% and 100%) with area under the curve of 1.0 and 1.0, respectively.

Conclusions: In conjunction with conventional MRI sequences, ADC values obtained from diffusion-weighted MRI are useful to differentiate orbital infantile hemangiomas from rhabdomyosarcomas in pediatric patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Area Under Curve
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Female
  • Hemangioma, Capillary / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma / diagnosis*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Young Adult