Rectal cancer: Short-term reproducibility of intravoxel incoherent motion parameters in 3.0T magnetic resonance imaging

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The aim of this study was to evaluate the short-term test-retest reproducibility of diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) parameters of rectal cancer with 3.0T MRI.

Twenty-six patients with rectal cancer underwent MRI, including diffusion-weighted imaging with 8 b values. Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and intravoxel incoherent motion (IVIM) parameters (D, pure diffusion; f, perfusion fraction; D*, pseudodiffusion coefficient) were, respectively, calculated. The short-term test-retest reproducibility, the intra and interobserver variation of the IVIM parameters were assessed based on the repeatability coefficient and Bland-Altman limits of agreement.

There was no significant intra or interobserver difference observed in the parameters on the same DW-MRI scan. The corresponding repeatability coefficient of intra- and interobserver analysis for ADC, D, f, and D* was 5.4%, 11.1%, 55.4%, and 40.3%; 10.9%, 41.6%, 134.0%, and 177.6%, respectively. The test-retest repeatability coefficient for ADC, D, f, and D* was 19.1%, 24.5%, 126.3%, and 197.4%, respectively, greater than the intraobserver values.

ADC and D have better short-term test-retest reproducibility than f and D*. Considering the poor test-retest reproducibility for f and D,* variance in these 2 parameters should be interpreted with caution in longitudinal studies on rectal cancer in which treatment response and recurrence are monitored.

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