Background. Focal boosting of prostate tumours to improve outcome, requires accurate tumour delineation. For this, the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) derived from diffusion-weighted MR imaging (DWI) seems a useful tool. On voxel level, the relationship between ADC and histological presence of tumour is, however, ambiguous. Therefore, in this study the relationship between ADC and histological variables was investigated on voxel level to understand the strengths and limitations of DWI for prostate tumour delineation. Material and methods. Twelve radical prostatectomy patients underwent a pre-operative 3.0T DWI exam and the ADC was calculated. From whole-mount histological sections cell density and glandular area were retrieved for every voxel. The distribution of all variables was described for tumour, peripheral zone (PZ) and central gland (CG) on regional and voxel level. Correlations between variables and differences between regions were calculated. Results. Large heterogeneity of ADC on voxel level was observed within tumours, between tumours and between patients. This heterogeneity was reflected by the distribution of cell density and glandular area. On regional level, tumour was different from PZ having higher cell density (p = 0.007), less glandular area (p = 0.017) and lower ADCs (p = 0.017). ADC was correlated with glandular area (r = 0.402) and tumour volume (r = -0.608), but not with Gleason score. ADC tended to decrease with increasing cell density (r = -0.327, p = 0.073). On voxel level, correlations between ADC and histological variables varied among patients, for cell density ranging from r = -0.439 to r = 0.261 and for glandular area from r = 0.593 to r = 0.207. Conclusions. The variation in ADC can to a certain extent be explained by the variation in cell density and glandular area. The ADC is highly heterogeneous, which reflects the heterogeneity of malignant and benign prostate tissue. This heterogeneity might however obscure small tumours or parts of tumours. Therefore, DWI has to be used in the context of multiparametric MRI.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging