Use of diffusion kurtosis imaging and quantitative dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI for the differentiation of breast tumors

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2018 Nov;48(5):1358-1366. doi: 10.1002/jmri.26059. Epub 2018 May 2.


Background: Breast MRI is a sensitive imaging technique to assess breast cancer but its effectiveness still remains to be improved.

Purpose: To evaluate the diagnostic performance of diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI), and quantitative dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE)-MRI in differentiating malignant from benign breast lesions independently or jointly and to explore whether correlations exist among these parameters.

Study type: Retrospective.

Population: In all, 106 patients with breast lesions (47 malignant, 59 benign).

Sequence: DKI sequence with seven b values and quantitative DCE sequence on 3.0T MRI.

Assessment: Diffusion parameters (mean diffusivity [MD], mean diffusivity [MK], and apparent diffusion coefficient [ADC]) from DKI and DWI and perfusion parameters from DCE (Ktrans , kep , ve , and vp ) were calculated by two experienced radiologists after postprocessing. Disagreement between the two observers was resolved by consensus.

Statistical tests: The parameters in benign and malignant lesions were compared by Student's t-test. The diagnostic performances of DKI and quantitative DCE, either alone or in combination, were evaluated by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. The Spearman correlation test was used to evaluate correlations among the diffusion parameters and perfusion parameters.

Results: MK, MD, ADC, Ktrans , and kep values were significantly different between breast cancer and benign lesions (P < 0.05). MK from DKI demonstrated the highest AUC of 0.849, which is significantly higher than ADC derived from conventional DWI (z = 3.345, P = 0.0008). The specificity of DCE-MRI-derived parameters was improved when combining diffusion parameters, such as ADC and MK. The highest diagnostic specificity (93.2%) was obtained when kep and ADC were combined. kep was correlated moderately positively with MK (r = 0.516) and moderately negatively with MD (r = -0.527). Ktrans was weakly positively correlated with MK with an r of 0.398 and weakly negatively correlated with MD with an r of -0.450.

Data conclusion: DKI is more valuable than conventional DWI in distinguishing between benign and malignant breast lesions. DKI exhibits promise as a quantitative technique to augment quantitative DCE-MRI. Diffusion parameters derived from DKI were statistically correlated with perfusion parameters from quantitative DCE-MRI.

Level of evidence: 3 Technical Efficacy: Stage 2 J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2018;47:1358-1366.

Keywords: breast; diagnosis; diffusion; magnetic resonance imaging; neoplasms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast / diagnostic imaging*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Contrast Media / chemistry*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • ROC Curve
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Young Adult


  • Contrast Media