Correlation between histogram-based DCE-MRI parameters and 18F-FDG PET values in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma: Evaluation in primary tumors and metastatic nodes

Antonello Vidiri, Emma Gangemi, Emanuela Ruberto, Rosella Pasqualoni, Rosa Sciuto, Giuseppe Sanguineti, Alessia Farneti, Maria Benevolo, Francesca Rollo, Francesca Sperati, Filomena Spasiano, Raul Pellini, Simona Marzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: To investigate the correlation between histogram-based Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) parameters and positron emission tomography with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG-PET) values in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC), both in primary tumors (PTs) and in metastatic lymph nodes (LNs).

METHODS: 52 patients with a new pathologically-confirmed OPSCC were included in the present retrospective cohort study. Imaging including DCE-MRI and 18F-FDG PET/CT scans were acquired in all patients. Both PTs and the largest LN, if present, were volumetrically contoured. Quantitative parameters, including the transfer constants, Ktrans and Kep, and the volume of extravascular extracellular space, ve, were calculated from DCE-MRI. The percentiles (P), P10, P25, P50, P75, P90, and skewness, kurtosis and entropy were obtained from the histogram-based analysis of each perfusion parameter. Standardized uptake values (SUV), SUVmax, SUVpeak, SUVmean, metabolic tumor volume (MTV) and total lesion glycolysis (TLG) were calculated applying a SUV threshold of 40%. The correlations between all variables were investigated with the Spearman-rank correlation test. To exclude false positive results under multiple testing, the Benjamini-Hockberg procedure was applied.

RESULTS: No significant correlations were found between any parameters in PTs, while significant associations emerged between Ktrans and 18F-FDG PET parameters in LNs.

CONCLUSIONS: Evident relationships emerged between DCE-MRI and 18F-FDG PET parameters in OPSCC LNs, while no association was found in PTs. The complex relationships between perfusion and metabolic biomarkers should be interpreted separately for primary tumors and lymph-nodes. A multiparametric approach to analyze PTs and LNs before treatment is advisable in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0229611
JournalPLoS One
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Contrast Media/metabolism
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18/metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes/pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oropharyngeal Neoplasms/diagnostic imaging
  • Positron Emission Tomography Computed Tomography/methods
  • Positron-Emission Tomography/methods
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck/diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed/methods
  • Tumor Burden


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