DW-MRI of the urogenital tract: Applications in oncology

G. Petralia, H. C. Thoeny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) appears to hold promise as a non-invasive imaging modality in the detection of early microstructural and functional changes of different organs. DW-MRI is an imaging technique with a high sensitivity for the detection of a large variety of diseases in the urogenital tract. In kidneys, DWMRI has shown promise for the characterization of solid lesions. Also in focal T1 hyperintense lesions DW-MRI was able to differentiate hemorrhagic cysts from tumours according to the lower apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values reported for renal cell carcinomas. Promising results were also published for the detection of prostate cancer. DW-MRI applied in addition to conventional T2-weighted imaging has been found to improve tumour detection. On a 3 T magnetic resonance unit ADC values were reported to be lower for tumours compared with the normal-appearing peripheral zone. The combined approach of T2-weighted imaging and DW-MRI also showed promising results for the detection of recurrent tumour in patients after radiation therapy. DW-MRI may improve the performance of conventional T2-weighted and contrast-enhanced MRI in the preoperative work-up of bladder cancer, as it may help in distinguishing superficial from muscle invasive bladder cancer, which is critical for patient management. Another challenging application of DW-MRI in the urogenital tract is the detection of pelvic lymph node metastases. As the ADC is generally reduced in malignant tumours and increased under inflammatory conditions, reduced ADC values were expected in patients with lymph node metastases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCancer Imaging
Issue numberSPEC. ISS. A
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Bladder
  • Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging
  • Kidney
  • Lymph nodes
  • Prostate
  • Tumours

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Medicine(all)


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