Diffusion-Weighted Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Ovarian Cancer: Exploiting Strengths and Understanding Limitations.
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Detection, characterization, staging, and response assessment are key steps in the imaging pathway of ovarian cancer. The most common type, high grade serous ovarian cancer, often presents late, so that accurate disease staging and response assessment are required through imaging in order to improve patient management. Currently, computerized tomography (CT) is the most common method for these tasks, but due to its poor soft-tissue contrast, it is unable to quantify early response within lesions before shrinkage is observed by size criteria. Therefore, quantifiable techniques, such as diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI), which generates high contrast between tumor and healthy tissue, are increasingly being explored. This article discusses the basis of diffusion-weighted contrast and the technical issues that must be addressed in order to achieve optimal implementation and robust quantifiable diffusion-weighted metrics in the abdomen and pelvis. The role of DW-MRI in characterizing adnexal masses in order to distinguish benign from malignant disease, and to differentiate borderline from frankly invasive malignancy is discussed, emphasizing the importance of morphological imaging over diffusion-weighted metrics in this regard. Its key role in disease staging and predicting resectability in comparison to CT is addressed, including its valuable use as a biomarker for following response within individual lesions, where early changes in the apparent diffusion coefficient in peritoneal metastases may be detected. Finally, the task of implementing DW-MRI into clinical trials in order to validate this biomarker for clinical use are discussed, along with the trials that include it within their protocols.
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Journal of clinical medicine, 2022, 11 (6), pp. 1524 - ?