International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics vol:82 issue:3 pages:1098-107
PURPOSE: To evaluate diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) for assessment of treatment response in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) three weeks after the end of chemoradiotherapy (CRT). METHODS AND MATERIALS: Twenty-nine patients with HNSCC underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) prior to and 3 weeks after CRT, including T(2)-weighted and pre- and postcontrast T(1)-weighted sequences and an echo-planar DWI sequence with six b values (0 to 1,000 s/mm(2)), from which the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) was calculated. ADC changes 3 weeks posttreatment compared to baseline (∆ADC) between responding and nonresponding primary lesions and adenopathies were correlated with 2 years locoregional control and compared with a Mann-Whitney test. In a blinded manner, the ∆ADC was compared to conventional MRI 3 weeks post-CRT and the routinely implemented CT, on average 3 months post-CRT, which used size-related and morphological criteria. Positive and negative predictive values (PPV and NPV, respectively) were compared between the ∆ADC and anatomical imaging. RESULTS: The ∆ADC of lesions with later tumor recurrence was significantly lower than lesions with complete remission for both primary lesions (-2.3% ± 0.3% vs. 80% ± 41%; p < 0.0001) and adenopathies (19.9% ± 32% vs. 63% ± 36%; p = 0.003). The ∆ADC showed a PPV of 89% and an NPV of 100% for primary lesions and a PPV of 70% and an NPV of 96% for adenopathies per neck side. DWI improved PPV and NPV compared to anatomical imaging. CONCLUSION: DWI with the ∆ADC 3 weeks after concluding CRT for HNSCC allows for early assessment of treatment response.