Differentiation between high-grade gliomas and solitary brain metastases: a comparison of five diffusion-weighted MRI models

BMC Med Imaging. 2020 Nov 23;20(1):124. doi: 10.1186/s12880-020-00524-w.


Background: To compare the diagnostic performance of neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging (NODDI), mean apparent propagator magnetic resonance imaging (MAP-MRI), diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) in distinguishing high-grade gliomas (HGGs) from solitary brain metastases (SBMs).

Methods: Patients with previously untreated, histopathologically confirmed HGGs (n = 20) or SBMs (n = 21) appearing as a solitary and contrast-enhancing lesion on structural MRI were prospectively recruited to undergo diffusion-weighted MRI. DWI data were obtained using a q-space Cartesian grid sampling procedure and were processed to generate parametric maps by fitting the NODDI, MAP-MRI, DKI, DTI and DWI models. The diffusion metrics of the contrast-enhancing tumor and peritumoral edema were measured. Differences in the diffusion metrics were compared between HGGs and SBMs, followed by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis and the Hanley and McNeill test to determine their diagnostic performances.

Results: NODDI-based isotropic volume fraction (Viso) and orientation dispersion index (ODI); MAP-MRI-based mean-squared displacement (MSD) and q-space inverse variance (QIV); DKI-generated radial, mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy (RDk, MDk and FAk); and DTI-generated radial, mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy (RD, MD and FA) of the contrast-enhancing tumor were significantly different between HGGs and SBMs (p < 0.05). The best single discriminative parameters of each model were Viso, MSD, RDk and RD for NODDI, MAP-MRI, DKI and DTI, respectively. The AUC of Viso (0.871) was significantly higher than that of MSD (0.736), RDk (0.760) and RD (0.733) (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: NODDI outperforms MAP-MRI, DKI, DTI and DWI in differentiating between HGGs and SBMs. NODDI-based Viso has the highest performance.

Keywords: Brain metastasis; Diffusion-weighted imaging; Glioma; Magnetic resonance imaging; Non-Gaussian.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't