Interobserver variability of selective region-of-interest measurement protocols for quantitative diffusion weighted imaging in soft tissue masses: Comparison with whole tumor volume measurements

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To assess the interobserver reliability of three selective region-of-interest (ROI) measurement protocols for apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) quantifications in soft tissue masses (STMs) compared with whole tumor volume (WTV) ADC measurements.


Institutional review board approval was obtained and informed consent was waived. Three observers independently measured minimum and mean ADCs of 73 benign and malignant musculoskeletal STMs using three selective methods (single-slice [SS], predefined three slices [PD], observer-based [OB]) and WTV measurements at 3.0 Tesla. Minimum and mean ADC values derived from each method were compared with WTV measurements, and inter-reader variation was assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). The time required for each method of ADC measurement was recorded.


For the SS, PD, OB, and WTV methods, minimum ADC values ((×10−3 mm2/s)) were 0.97, 0.78, 0.73, and 0.67, respectively, and mean ADC values ((×10−3 mm2/s)) were 1.49, 1.49, 1.51, and 1.49, respectively. Interobserver agreement was good to excellent for the minimum and mean ADC values for the three readers using the SS, PD, OB, and WTV (ICC range 0.78–0.90). The SS, PD and OB methods required the least amount of measurement time (14 ± 5, 40 ± 17, and 38 ± 15 s, respectively) while the reference WTV method required the longest measurement time (111 ± 54 s) (P < 0.01).


While all selective and WTV measurements offer good to excellent interobserver agreement, the selective OB method of ADC measurement results in the closest values to WTV measurements and requires significantly less measurement time than that required for the WTV method. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2016;43:446–454.

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