Background: Recently, histogram analysis based on voxel-wise apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) value distribution has been increasingly performed. However, few studies have been reported regarding its repeatability.
Purpose: To evaluate the repeatability of ADC histogram metrics of the uterus in clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Material and methods: Thirty-three female patients who underwent pelvic MRI including diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) were prospectively included after providing informed consent. Two sequential DWI acquisitions with identical parameters and position were obtained. Regions of interest (ROIs) for histologically confirmed uterine lesions (five cervical and three endometrial cancers, and one endometrial hyperplasia) and normal appearing tissues (21 endometrium and 33 myometrium) were assigned on the first DWI dataset and then pasted onto the second DWI dataset. ADC histogram metrics within the ROIs were calculated and repeatability was evaluated by calculating within-subject coefficient of variance (%) (wCV (%)) and Bland-Altman plot (%).
Results: ADC 10%, 25%, median, 75%, 90%, maximum, mean, and entropy showed high repeatability (wCV (%) < 7, 95% limit of agreement in Bland-Altman plot (%) < ±20), followed by ADC minimum (wCV (%) = 8.12, 95% limit of agreement in Bland-Altman plot (%) < ±30). However, ADC skewness and kurtosis showed very low repeatability in all evaluations.
Conclusion: ADC histogram metrics like ADC 10%, 25%, median, 75%, 90%, maximum, mean, and entropy are robust biomarkers and could be applicable to clinical use. However, ADC skewness and kurtosis lack robustness. Radiologists should keep these characteristics and limitations in mind when interpreting quantitative DWI.
Keywords: MR diffusion/perfusion; Uterus; histogram; repeatability.