Relationship between kurtosis and bi-exponential characterization of high b-value diffusion-weighted imaging: application to prostate cancer

Acta Radiol. 2018 Dec;59(12):1523-1529. doi: 10.1177/0284185118770889. Epub 2018 Apr 17.


Background: High b-value diffusion-weighted imaging has application in the detection of cancerous tissue across multiple body sites. Diffusional kurtosis and bi-exponential modeling are two popular model-based techniques, whose performance in relation to each other has yet to be fully explored.

Purpose: To determine the relationship between excess kurtosis and signal fractions derived from bi-exponential modeling in the detection of suspicious prostate lesions.

Material and methods: This retrospective study analyzed patients with normal prostate tissue (n = 12) or suspicious lesions (n = 13, one lesion per patient), as determined by a radiologist whose clinical care included a high b-value diffusion series. The observed signal intensity was modeled using a bi-exponential decay, from which the signal fraction of the slow-moving component was derived ( SFs). In addition, the excess kurtosis was calculated using the signal fractions and ADCs of the two exponentials ( KCOMP). As a comparison, the kurtosis was also calculated using the cumulant expansion for the diffusion signal ( KCE).

Results: Both K and KCE were found to increase with SFs within the range of SFs commonly found within the prostate. Voxel-wise receiver operating characteristic performance of SFs, KCE, and KCOMP in discriminating between suspicious lesions and normal prostate tissue was 0.86 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.85 - 0.87), 0.69 (95% CI = 0.68-0.70), and 0.86 (95% CI = 0.86-0.87), respectively.

Conclusion: In a two-component diffusion environment, KCOMP is a scaled value of SFs and is thus able to discriminate suspicious lesions with equal precision . KCE provides a computationally inexpensive approximation of kurtosis but does not provide the same discriminatory abilities as SFs and KCOMP.

Keywords: Diffusion; MRI; magnetic resonance imaging; neoplasm; prostate.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostate / diagnostic imaging
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies