Quantitative Diffusion-Weighted MRI of Neuroblastoma

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Abele, Niklas
Langner, Soenke
Felbor, Ute
Lode, Holger
Hosten, Norbert

Simple Summary In this study quantified diffusion weitgthed imaging in MRI was analized in neuroblastoma. We were able to show a significant increase of apparent diffusion coefficient in regressive diseases and a decrease for progressive diseases. This was even true within the first 120 days after the start of therapy.

      Neuroblastoma is the most common extracranial, malignant, solid tumor found in children. In more than one-third of cases, the tumor is in an advanced stage, with limited resectability. The treatment options include resection, with or without (neo-/) adjuvant therapy, and conservative therapy, the latter even with curative intent. Contrast-enhanced MRI is used for staging and therapy monitoring. Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) is often included. DWI allows for a calculation of the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) for quantitative assessment. Histological tumor characteristics can be derived from ADC maps. Monitoring the response to treatment is possible using ADC maps, with an increase in ADC values in cases of a response to therapy. Changes in the ADC value precede volume reduction. The usual criteria for determining the response to therapy can therefore be supplemented by ADC values. While these changes have been observed in neuroblastoma, early changes in the ADC value in response to therapy are less well described. In this study, we evaluated whether there is an early change in the ADC values in neuroblastoma under therapy; if this change depends on the form of therapy; and whether this change may serve as a prognostic marker. We retrospectively evaluated neuroblastoma cases treated in our institution between June 2007 and August 2014. The examinations were grouped as ‘prestaging’; ‘intermediate staging’; ‘final staging’; and ‘follow-up’. A classification of “progress”, “stable disease”, or “regress” was made. For the determination of ADC values, regions of interest were drawn along the borders of all tumor manifestations. To calculate ADC changes (∆ADC), the respective MRI of the prestaging was used as a reference point or, in the case of therapies that took place directly after previous therapies, the associated previous staging. In the follow-up examinations, the previous examination was used as a reference point. The ∆ADC were grouped into ∆ADCregress for regressive disease, ∆ADCstable for stable disease, and ∆ADC for progressive disease. In addition, examinations at 60 to 120 days from the baseline were grouped as er∆ADCregress, er∆ADCstable, and er∆ADCprogress. Any differences were tested for significance using the Mann–Whitney test (level of significance: p < 0.05). In total, 34 patients with 40 evaluable tumor manifestations and 121 diffusion-weighted MRI examinations were finally included. Twenty-seven patients had INSS stage IV neuroblastoma, and seven had INSS stage III neuroblastoma. A positive N-Myc expression was found in 11 tumor diseases, and 17 patients tested negative for N-Myc (with six cases having no information). 26 patients were assigned to the high-risk group according to INRG and eight patients to the intermediate-risk group. There was a significant difference in mean ADC values from the high-risk group compared to those from the intermediate-risk group, according to INRG. The differences between the mean ∆ADC values (absolute and percentage) according to the course of the disease were significant: between ∆ADCregress and ∆ADCstable, between ∆ADCprogress and ∆ADCstable, as well as between ∆ADCregress and ∆ADCprogress. The differences between the mean er∆ADC values (absolute and percentage) according to the course of the disease were significant: between er∆ADCregress and er∆ADCstable, as well as between er∆ADCregress and er∆ADCprogress. Forms of therapy, N-Myc status, and risk groups showed no further significant differences in mean ADC values and ∆ADC/er∆ADC. A clear connection between the ADC changes and the response to therapy could be demonstrated. This held true even within the first 120 days after the start of therapy: an increase in the ADC value corresponds to a probable response to therapy, while a decrease predicts progression. Minimal or no changes were seen in cases of stable disease.
Journal Title
Cancers 15.7 (2023): 1940. <https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/15/7/1940>
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