Diffusivity in breast malignancies analyzed for b > 1000 s/mm2 at 1 mm in-plane resolutions: Insight from Gaussian and non-Gaussian behaviors

Martins Otikovs, Noam Nissan, Edna Furman-Haran, Debbie Anaby, Tanir M. Allweis, Ravit Agassi, Miri Sklair-Levy, Lucio Frydman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) can improve breast cancer characterizations, but often suffers from low image quality –particularly at informative b > 1000 s/mm2 values. The aim of this study was to evaluate multishot approaches characterizing Gaussian and non-Gaussian diffusivities in breast cancer. This was a prospective study, in which 15 subjects, including 13 patients with biopsy-confirmed breast cancers, were enrolled. DWI was acquired at 3 T using echo planar imaging (EPI) with and without zoomed excitations, readout-segmented EPI (RESOLVE), and spatiotemporal encoding (SPEN); dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) data were collected using three-dimensional gradient-echo T1 weighting; anatomies were evaluated with T2-weighted two-dimensional turbo spin-echo. Congruence between malignancies delineated by DCE was assessed against high-resolution DWI scans with b-values in the 0–1800 s/mm2 range, as well as against apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and kurtosis maps. Data were evaluated by independent magnetic resonance scientists with 3–20 years of experience, and radiologists with 6 and 20 years of experience in breast MRI. Malignancies were assessed from ADC and kurtosis maps, using paired t tests after confirming that these values had a Gaussian distribution. Agreements between DWI and DCE datasets were also evaluated using Sorensen–Dice similarity coefficients. Cancerous and normal tissues were clearly separable by ADCs: by SPEN their average values were (1.03 ± 0.17) × 10−3 and (1.69 ± 0.19) × 10−3 mm2/s (p < 0.0001); by RESOLVE these values were (1.16 ± 0.16) × 10−3 and (1.52 ± 0.14) × 10−3 (p = 0.00026). Kurtosis also distinguished lesions (K = 0.64 ± 0.15) from normal tissues (K = 0.45 ± 0.05), but only when measured by SPEN (p = 0.0008). The best statistical agreement with DCE-highlighted regions arose for SPEN-based DWIs recorded with b = 1800 s/mm2 (Sorensen–Dice coefficient = 0.67); DWI data recorded with b = 850 and 1200 s/mm2, led to lower coefficients. Both ADC and kurtosis maps highlighted the breast malignancies, with ADCs providing a more significant separation. The most promising alternative for contrast-free delineations of the cancerous lesions arose from b = 1800 s/mm2 DWI. Level of Evidence: 2. Technical Efficacy Stage: 3.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1913-1925
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine


  • breast cancer diagnosis
  • diffusion kurtosis imaging
  • diffusion-weighted imaging
  • spatiotemporal encoding


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