Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility of pretreatment diffusion-weighted imaging in predicting response after induction chemotherapy (IC) in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).
Methods: Fifty-four patients with stage III and IV NPC underwent MRI examination at baseline, after 2 cycles of chemotherapy, and at the end of chemoradiotherapy. Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values were compared between effective and ineffective subjects after IC.
Results: Mean ADC in effective groups was significantly (P < 0.05) higher than that in the ineffective group. Average and minimum ADCs demonstrated higher sensitivity than maximum ADC for predicting IC response, with 68.4%, 71.1%, and 50.0%, respectively, at an equivalent 68.7% specificity. We observed negative correlations between pretreatment ADC and tumor regression after chemotherapy (γ = − 0.425, P = 0.001) and after chemoradiotherapy (γ = − 0.418, P = 0.003).
Conclusions: Pretreatment ADC was a valuable biomarker for predicting IC response of NPC. Noninvasive diffusion-weighted imaging provides additional indicator in guiding optical therapeutic options for patients with NPC.