A monte carlo study of restricted diffusion: Implications for diffusion MRI of prostate cancer

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Abstract

Purpose

Diffusion MRI is used frequently to assess prostate cancer. The prostate consists of cellular tissue surrounding fluid filled ducts. Here, the diffusion properties of the ductal fluid alone were studied. Monte Carlo simulations were used to investigate ductal residence times to determine whether ducts can be regarded as forming a separate compartment and whether ductal radius could determine the Apparent Diffusion Coefficient (ADC) of the ductal fluid.

Methods

Random walks were simulated in cavities. Average residence times were estimated for permeable cavities. Signal reductions resulting from application of a Stejskal-Tanner pulse sequence were calculated in impermeable cavities. Simulations were repeated for cavities of different radii and different diffusion times.

Results

Residence times are at least comparable with diffusion times even in relatively high grade tumors. ADCs asymptotically approach theoretical limiting values. At large radii and short diffusion times, ADCs are similar to free diffusion. At small radii and long diffusion times, ADCs are reduced toward zero, and kurtosis approaches a value of −1.2.

Conclusions

Restricted diffusion in cavities of similar sizes to prostate ducts may reduce ductal ADCs. This may contribute to reductions in total ADC seen in prostate cancer. Magn Reson Med 77:1671–1677, 2017. © 2016 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine

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