Quantitative DWI predicts event-free survival in children with neuroblastic tumours: preliminary findings from a retrospective cohort study

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Quantitative diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) probes into tissue microstructure in solid tumours. In this retrospective ethically approved study, we investigated DWI as a potential non-invasive predictor of tumour dignity and prognosis in paediatric patients with neuroblastic tumours. METHODS: Nineteen consecutive patients with neuroblastoma (NB, n = 15), ganglioneuroblastoma (GNB, n = 1) and ganglioneuroma (GN, n = 3) underwent 3-T magnetic resonance imaging at first diagnosis and after 3-month follow-up, following a protocol including DWI (b = 50 and 800 s/mm2) in addition to standard sequences. All DWI scans were analysed for tumour volume assessment and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) calculation. Correlation with tumour pathology and risk factors (bone-marrow metastases, MYCN-amplification and 1p-deletion), therapeutic regime (observation versus chemotherapy) and clinical follow-up was evaluated. RESULTS: At baseline, mean ADC in NB was lower than in GNB/GN (0.76 vs. 1.47 × 10-3 mm2/s, p = 0.003). An ADC cutoff ≤ 1.05 identified malignant disease with 100.0% sensitivity (95% confidence interval [CI] 29.2-100.0%) and 93.8% specificity (95% CI 69.8-99.8%). Initial ADC was < 0.80 in all NB patients with eventual tumour relapse. During follow-up, tumour ADC values increased in the observation group (NB/GN) without relapse (p = 0.043). In eventually relapsing tumours, ADC values at follow-up tended to decrease further despite reduction in tumour volume. CONCLUSIONS: ADC values at first presentation differed significantly between malignant and benign neuroblastic tumours. Low baseline ADC was predictive of tumour progression and relapse in NB patients. With therapy, increasing ADC values appeared to predict relapse-free survival, while a decreasing ADC during therapy was an indicator of poor prognosis.

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Peschmann, A. L., Beer, M., Ammann, B., Dreyhaupt, J., Kneer, K., Beer, A. J., … Neubauer, H. (2019). Quantitative DWI predicts event-free survival in children with neuroblastic tumours: preliminary findings from a retrospective cohort study. European Radiology Experimental, 3(1), 6. https://doi.org/10.1186/s41747-019-0087-4

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