Focal Liver Lesions Classification and Characterization: What Value Do DWI and ADC Have?

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The aim of this work was to analyze the value of diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) in the classification/characterization of focal liver lesions (FLLs).


Retrospective study, approved by ethical board, of 100 proven FLLs (20 hemangiomas, 20 focal nodular hyperplasia, 20 dysplastic nodules, 20 hepatocellular carcinomas, and 20 metastases) was performed by 1.5-T MR. For each lesion, 2 readers, blinded of medical history, have evaluated 6 sets of images: set A (T1/T2-weighted images), set B (set A + DWI), set C (set B + apparent diffusion coefficient [ADC] map), set D (set A + dynamic and hepatobiliary phases), set E (set D + DWI), set F (set E + ADC map).


In unenhanced images, the evaluation of the ADC improves the accuracy in classification/characterization (+9%/14%, respectively), whereas in enhanced images the accuracy was increased by DWI (+7%/12%, respectively) and ADC (+13%/19%, respectively). Diffusion-weighted imaging does not improve classification/characterization of hemangiomas, may be useful in focal nodular hyperplasia/dysplastic nodules vs metastases/hepatocellular carcinoma differentiation, and increases the classification/characterization of metastases in both unenhanced and enhanced images.


Diffusion-weighted imaging may improve classification/characterization of FLLs at unenhanced/enhanced examinations.

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