Correlation of the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) with the standardized uptake value (SUV) in lymph node metastases of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients using hybrid 18F-FDG PET/MRI

Benedikt Michael Schaarschmidt, Christian Buchbender, Felix Nensa, Johannes Grueneisen, Johannes Grueneien, Benedikt Gomez, Jens Köhler, Henning Reis, Verena Ruhlmann, Lale Umutlu, Philipp Heusch
PloS One 2015, 10 (1): e0116277

OBJECTIVE: To compare the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) in lymph node metastases of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with standardized uptake values (SUV) derived from combined 18F-fluoro-deoxy-glucose-positron emission tomography/magnetic resonance imaging (18F-FDG PET/MRI).

MATERIAL AND METHODS: 38 patients with histopathologically proven NSCLC (mean age 60.1 ± 9.5 y) received whole-body PET/CT (Siemens mCT™) 60 min after injection of a mean dose of 280 ± 50 MBq 18F-FDG and subsequent PET/MRI (mean time after tracer injection: 139 ± 26 min, Siemens Biograph mMR). During PET acquisition, simultaneous diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI, b values: 0, 500, 1000 s/mm²) was performed. A maximum of 10 lymph nodes per patient suspicious for malignancy were analyzed. Regions of interest (ROI) were drawn covering the entire lymph node on the attenuation-corrected PET-image and the monoexponential ADC-map. According to histopathology or radiological follow-up, lymph nodes were classified as benign or malignant. Pearson's correlation coefficients were calculated for all lymph node metastases correlating SUVmax and SUVmean with ADCmean.

RESULTS: A total of 146 suspicious lymph nodes were found in 25 patients. One hundred lymph nodes were eligible for final analysis. Ninety-one lymph nodes were classified as malignant and 9 as benign according to the reference standard. In malignant lesions, mean SUVmax was 9.1 ± 3.8 and mean SUVmean was 6.0 ± 2.5 while mean ADCmean was 877.0 ± 128.6 x10(-5) mm²/s in PET/MRI. For all malignant lymph nodes, a weak, inverse correlation between SUVmax and ADCmean as well as SUVmean and ADCmean (r = -0.30, p<0.05 and r = -0.36, p<0.05) existed.

CONCLUSION: The present data show a weak inverse correlation between increased glucose-metabolism and cellularity in lymph node metastases of NSCLC patients. 18F-FDG-PET and DWI thus may offer complementary information for the evaluation of treatment response in lymph node metastases of NSCLC.

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