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Diffusion-Weighted Imaging of Malignant Breast Tumors: The Usefulness of Apparent Diffusion Coefficient (ADC) Value and ADC Map for the Detection of Malignant Breast Tumors and Evaluation of Cancer Extension

Woodhams, Reiko MD*; Matsunaga, Keiji MD*; Iwabuchi, Keiichi MD; Kan, Shinichi MD*; Hata, Hirofumi RT*; Kuranami, Masaru MD; Watanabe, Masahiko MD; Hayakawa, Kazushige MD*

Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography: September-October 2005 - Volume 29 - Issue 5 - p 644-649
doi: 10.1097/01.rct.0000171913.74086.1b
Thoracic and Breast Imaging: Original Article

The authors used breast diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) to diagnose breast cancer and identify cancer extension. Isotropic DWI was performed with EPI. The apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) value was calculated and displayed on an ADC map. The authors compared between the distribution of low ADC values and pathologic cancer extension. The mean ADC value of breast cancer was 1.12 ± 0.24 × 10−3 mm2/s, which was lower than that of normal breast tissue. The ADC value for invasive ductal carcinoma was lower than that of noninvasive ductal carcinoma. The sensitivity of the ADC value for breast cancer using a threshold of less than 1.6 × 10−3 mm2/s was 95%. Seventy-five percent of all cases showed precise distribution of low ADC value as cancer extension. The causes of underestimation were susceptibility artifact from bleeding and the limit of spatial resolution. Benign proliferative change showed a low ADC value. The authors conclude that DWI has a potential for clinical appreciation in detecting breast cancer.

From the *Department of Radiology, Kitasato University School of Medicine, Kanagawa, Japan; †Department of Pathology, Kitasato University School of Medicine, Kanagawa, Japan; and ‡Department of Surgery, Kitasato University School of Medicine, Kanagawa, Japan.

Received for publication January 22, 2005; accepted May 18, 2005.

Reprints: Reiko Woodhams, Kitasato University School of Medicine, 1-15-1, Kitasato, Sagamihara, Kanagawa, 228-8555, Japan (e-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.