Variability of non-Gaussian diffusion MRI and intravoxel incoherent motion (IVIM) measurements in the breast

PLoS One. 2018 Mar 1;13(3):e0193444. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0193444. eCollection 2018.


We prospectively examined the variability of non-Gaussian diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and intravoxel incoherent motion (IVIM) measurements with different numbers of b-values and excitations in normal breast tissue and breast lesions. Thirteen volunteers and fourteen patients with breast lesions (seven malignant, eight benign; one patient had bilateral lesions) were recruited in this prospective study (approved by the Internal Review Board). Diffusion-weighted MRI was performed with 16 b-values (0-2500 s/mm2 with one number of excitations [NEX]) and five b-values (0-2500 s/mm2, 3 NEX), using a 3T breast MRI. Intravoxel incoherent motion (flowing blood volume fraction [fIVIM] and pseudodiffusion coefficient [D*]) and non-Gaussian diffusion (theoretical apparent diffusion coefficient [ADC] at b value of 0 sec/mm2 [ADC0] and kurtosis [K]) parameters were estimated from IVIM and Kurtosis models using 16 b-values, and synthetic apparent diffusion coefficient (sADC) values were obtained from two key b-values. The variabilities between and within subjects and between different diffusion acquisition methods were estimated. There were no statistical differences in ADC0, K, or sADC values between the different b-values or NEX. A good agreement of diffusion parameters was observed between 16 b-values (one NEX), five b-values (one NEX), and five b-values (three NEX) in normal breast tissue or breast lesions. Insufficient agreement was observed for IVIM parameters. There were no statistical differences in the non-Gaussian diffusion MRI estimated values obtained from a different number of b-values or excitations in normal breast tissue or breast lesions. These data suggest that a limited MRI protocol using a few b-values might be relevant in a clinical setting for the estimation of non-Gaussian diffusion MRI parameters in normal breast tissue and breast lesions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast / pathology
  • Breast Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Breast Diseases / pathology*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Young Adult

Grant support

This study was supported by the Hakubi Project and the Japan Society for Promotion of Science Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) (15K19786). The funder (Hakubi Project) provided support in the form of salaries for authors [Mami Iima], but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.