Evaluation of diffusion-weighted MRI for pretherapeutic assessment and staging of lymphoma: results of a prospective study in 140 patients

Marius E Mayerhoefer, Georgios Karanikas, Kurt Kletter, Helmut Prosch, Barbara Kiesewetter, Cathrin Skrabs, Edit Porpaczy, Michael Weber, Katja Pinker-Domenig, Dominik Berzaczy, Martha Hoffmann, Christian Sillaber, Ulrich Jaeger, Leonhard Müllauer, Ingrid Simonitsch-Klupp, Werner Dolak, Alexander Gaiger, Philipp Ubl, Julius Lukas, Markus Raderer
Clinical Cancer Research 2014 June 1, 20 (11): 2984-93

PURPOSE: To determine the value of diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI-MRI) for pretherapeutic imaging of fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-avid lymphoma and lymphoma with variable FDG avidity.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Treatment-naïve patients with lymphoma who were referred for whole-body staging were included in this prospective study. Group A included patients with FDG-avid lymphoma (e.g., Hodgkin, diffuse large B-cell, and follicular lymphoma), whereas Group B included patients with lymphoma of variable FDG avidity [e.g., extranodal marginal zone B-cell lymphoma of the mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT)]. All patients underwent DWI-MRI and 18F-FDG- positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT). Region-based sensitivity and agreement with Ann Arbor staging, relative to the reference standard, were calculated for DWI-MRI, and, in Group B, also 18F-FDG-PET/CT and contrast-enhanced (CE-) CT.

RESULTS: In Group A (100 patients), DWI-MRI had a region-based sensitivity of 97%, and with regard to staging, agreed with the reference standard in 94 of 100 patients (κ, 0.92). In Group B (40 patients; 38 MALT lymphomas and 2 small lymphocytic lymphomas/chronic lymphocytic leukemias), DWI-MRI, 18F-FDG-PET/CT, and CE-CT had region-based sensitivities of 94.4%, 60.9%, and 70.7%, respectively. With regard to staging in Group B, DWI-MRI, 18F-FDG-PET/CT, and CE-CT agreed with the reference standard in 37 of 40, 26 of 40, and 24 of 40 patients, with κ values of 0.89, 0.52, and 0.43, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: In patients with FDG-avid lymphoma, DWI-MRI seems to be only slightly inferior to 18F-FDG-PET/CT with regard to pretherapeutic regional assessment and staging. In patients with lymphoma subtypes that show a variable FDG avidity (e.g., MALT lymphoma), DWI-MRI seems to be superior to both 18F-FDG-PET/CT and CE-CT.

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