Effects of region of interest sizes on apparent diffusion coefficient measurements of pleomorphic adenoma, Warthin tumor, and normal parotid parenchyma

Qi Sun, Chao Ma, Minjun Dong, Mengda Jiang, Xiaofeng Tao


Background: Tumor apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) measurements may be influenced by region of interest (ROI) sizes; however, this effect has not been systematically studied in parotid tumors. Our purpose was to determine the effects of ROI size on ADC measurements for the differentiation of pleomorphic adenoma (PA), Warthin tumor (WT), and normal parotid parenchyma.
Methods: Sixty-five patients including 37 with PA (lesions, n=37) and 28 with WT (lesions, n=36) were examined with diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI). Participants with normal contralateral parenchyma of the parotid gland constituted the control group (n=56). The mean ADC values and standard deviations (SDs) of the ADC (ADCSD) of 12 concentric round ROIs (areas: 9, 28, 34, 50, 60, 82, 93, 98, 115, 130, 136, and 149 mm2) for tumors and normal tissue were measured by using custom-made software. Homogeneity index, which was defined by the ADCSD/mean ADC, was also calculated. One-way repeated analyses of variance (ANOVAs) were performed on the mean ADCs, ADCSDs, and homogeneity indices of the 12 ROIs in each group. The three parameters at different ROIs among PA, WT, and normal parotid parenchyma were compared using Kruskal-Wallis tests.
Results: There was excellent agreement for the ADC measurements with the 12 ROIs for PA [intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), 0.98], WT (ICC, 0.99), and normal parotid parenchyma (ICC, 0.95). No significant differences were observed in the mean ADCs of the 12 ROIs for each of the three groups (P=0.744–0.990). Among the three groups, the mean ADC of normal parotid parenchyma [(0.94±0.003)×10−3 mm2/s] was significantly lower than that of both PA [(1.72±0.01)×10−3 mm2/s] and WT [(1.16±0.01)×10−3 mm2/s] in the 12 ROIs, whereas the PA group had the highest mean ADC values. No significant differences were found in the mean ADCSDs with each ROI between PA and WT (all P>0.017). PAs had lower homogeneity indices compared with WTs and normal parotid parenchyma (all P<0.01).
Conclusions: The effect of ROI size on ADC measurements could be excluded from the differentiation of PA, WT, and normal parotid parenchyma. Homogeneity index was a useful parameter in discriminating between the three groups.