Intravoxel incoherent motion imaging of tumor microenvironment in locally advanced breast cancer

E. E. Sigmund, G. Y. Cho, S. Kim, M. Finn, M. Moccaldi, J. H. Jensen, D. K. Sodickson, J. D. Goldberg, S. Formenti, L. Moy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diffusion-weighted imaging plays important roles in cancer diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment. Although most applications measure restricted diffusion by tumor cellularity, diffusion-weighted imaging is also sensitive to vascularity through the intravoxel incoherent motion effect. Hypervascularity can confound apparent diffusion coefficient measurements in breast cancer. We acquired multiple b-value diffusion-weighted imaging at 3 T in a cohort of breast cancer patients and performed biexponential intravoxel incoherent motion analysis to extract tissue diffusivity (Dt), perfusion fraction (fp), and pseudodiffusivity (Dp). Results indicated significant differences between normal fibroglandular tissue and malignant lesions in apparent diffusion coefficient mean (±standard deviation) values (2.44 ± 0.30 vs. 1.34 ± 0.39 μ2/msec, P < 0.01) and Dt (2.36 ± 0.38 vs. 1.15 ± 0.35 μ2/msec, P < 0.01). Lesion diffusion-weighted imaging signals demonstrated biexponential character in comparison to monoexponential normal tissue. There is some differentiation of lesion subtypes (invasive ductal carcinoma vs. other malignant lesions) with fp (10.5 ± 5.0% vs. 6.9 ± 2.9%, P = 0.06), but less so with Dt (1.14 ± 0.32 μ2/msec vs. 1.18 ± 0.52 μ2/msec, P = 0.88) and Dp (14.9 ± 11.4 μ2/msec vs. 16.1 ± 5.7 μ2/msec, P = 0.75). Comparison of intravoxel incoherent motion biomarkers with contrast enhancement suggests moderate correlations. These results suggest the potential of intravoxel incoherent motion vascular and cellular biomarkers for initial grading, progression monitoring, or treatment assessment of breast tumors. Magn Reson Med, 2011.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1437-1447
Number of pages11
JournalMagnetic resonance in medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011


  • breast cancer
  • diffusion
  • intravoxel incoherent motion
  • perfusion fraction
  • pseudodiffusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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