Post-radiotherapy apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) in children and young adults with high-grade gliomas and diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas

Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2019 Mar;36(2):103-112. doi: 10.1080/08880018.2019.1592267. Epub 2019 Apr 12.


Objectives: Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) offers potential to monitor response and predict survival in high-grade gliomas (HGG) and diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG). We hypothesized that post-radiotherapy DW-MRI may provide prognostic imaging biomarkers in children and young adults with these tumors. Methods: Patients aged ≤21 years diagnosed between 2005 and 2012 were eligible. The tumor median apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and its 5th percentile (C5-ADC) were determined at the first post-radiotherapy scan and at the time of radiological progression. DW-MRI parameters were correlated with survival endpoints, temozolomide use and pseudoprogression, when it occurred. Results: Out of 40 patients (20 HGG, 20 DIPG), 23 had evaluable DW-MRI post-radiotherapy and 25 at radiological progression. There were 6 episodes of pseudoprogression. Hazard ratios (95%CI) for progression-free survival were 0.998 (0.993-1.003) for median ADC and 1.003 (0.996-1.010) for C5-ADC. Hazard ratios (95%CI) for overall survival were 1.0009 (0.996-1.006) for median ADC and 0.998 (0.992-1.004) for C5-ADC. Post-radiotherapy median and C5-ADC values were not significantly different between patients treated with radiotherapy alone versus radiotherapy/temozolomide. The median and C5-ADC values were not significantly different at the time of pseudoprogression compared to those at tumor progression. Conclusions: Post-radiotherapy median ADC and C5-ADC were not prognostic, nor able to differentiate radiosensitization with temozolomide or occurrence of pseudoprogression in this cohort of HGG and DIPG patients. Further exploration of alternative DW parameters, study timepoints or data modeling may contribute to the development of prognostic/predictive imaging biomarkers for children and young adults with HGG or DIPG.

Keywords: ADC; MRI; children; diffusion weighted; glioma.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Brain Stem Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Brain Stem Neoplasms / mortality
  • Brain Stem Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Stem Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diffusion
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Glioma / drug therapy
  • Glioma / mortality
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Glioma / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Temozolomide / therapeutic use
  • White Matter / pathology*
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Temozolomide