Background To investigate the ability of diffusion weighted images (DWI) to differentiate between metastatic and nonmetastatic axillary lymph nodes (LNs) in patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer. Methods From January 2010 to February 2012, DWI was performed at b values of 0 and 800 for 16 metastatic LNs from 16 patients with breast cancer, and 20 nonmetastatic LNs from 20 women without breast cancer. The metastatic LNs were proven by ultrasound (US) guided core biopsy and the same LNs were identified on MRI by comparing the US images with MR images. Nonmetastatic LNs were verified by the stability in size and shape for at least 2 years on MRI. The apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) value of the metastatic and nonmetastatic axillary LNs was compared. Receiver-operating-characteristics (ROC) analysis was performed to evaluate the diagnostic performance of the ADC value in differentiating between metastatic and nonmetastatic axillary LNs. Results The mean ADC value was 0.746 × 10-3 for metastatic LNs and 1.033 × 10-3 for nonmetastatic LNs (P<0.001). The area under the ROC curve was 0.884. The sensitivity and specificity for differentiating metastatic from nonmetastatic axillary LNs using a cutoff ADC value of 0.852 were 85% and 81%, respectively. Conclusion There is a statistically significant difference between the ADC values of pathologically proven metastatic LNs and nonmetastatic LNs. DWI and ADC values are a useful tool for differentiating metastatic from nonmetastatic axillary LNs. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2015;42:771-778.
- apparent diffusion coefficient
- axillary lymph node
- breast cancer
- diffusion weighted image
- lymph node metastasis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging