Objective: The objectives of the study were to determine whether perfusion computed tomography (CT-p) and magnetic resonance diffusion-weighted imaging (MR-DWI) can allow evaluation of the effects of chemotherapy combined with antiangiogenetic treatment on liver metastases in patients with advanced colorectal cancer and to determine if changes in CT-p and MR-DWI correlate with the response to therapy as assessed by conventional Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST).
Methods: Eighteen patients with liver metastases from colorectal cancer underwent CT-p and MR-DWI before and 6 months after chemotherapy and antiangiogenetic treatment. Lesions were classified according to RECIST criteria (complete response [CR], partial response [PR], stable disease [SD], and progressive disease) and calculations of CT-p parameters including blood flow (BF), blood volume (BV), capillary permeability (CP), and MR-DWI apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values were performed; RECIST, CT-p, and MR-DWI measurements at baseline and follow-up were tested for statistically significant differences using the paired-samples t test. Baseline and follow-up perfusion parameters of the lesions were also compared on the basis of therapy response assessed by RECIST criteria using independent-samples t test. P < 0.05 was considered indicative of a statistically significant difference for all statistical test.
Results: Six patients (6/18; 33.3%) were classified as PR (Fig. 1), and the remaining 12 (12/18; 66.7%) were classified as SD. On a per-lesion basis, 2 (2/32; 6.3%) cannot be identified at follow-up, 6 (6/32; 18.8%) showed a decrease in size of more than 30%, and 24 (24/32; 75%) were substantially stable in size. No cases of progressive disease were demonstrated at follow-up. No statistically significant differences were demonstrated between PR, CR, and SD lesions for BF (P = 0.19), BV (P = 0.14), and ADC (P = 0.68) measurements, whereas CP was significantly higher in CR and PR lesions (P = 0.038). Considering differences between baseline and follow-up values, no statistically significant differences were noted between PR and CR lesions versus SD lesions for CT-p values (BF: P = 0.77; BV: P = 0.15; CP: P = 0.64). A statistically significant difference between PR and CR lesions and SD lesions was noted for ADC values (P = 0.047).
Conclusion: Both CT-p and MR-DWI can detect therapy-induced modifications in lesion vascularization before significant changes in size are evident.