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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Cancer 1/2017

The prognostic value of pretreatment tumor apparent diffusion coefficient values in nasopharyngeal carcinoma

BMC Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2017
Dan-Fang Yan, Wen-Bao Zhang, Shan-Bao Ke, Feng Zhao, Sen-Xiang Yan, Qi-Dong Wang, Li-Song Teng



Diffusion-weighted MR imaging (DWI) has increasingly contributed to the management of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients. The objective of this paper was to explore the prognostic significance of apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values in 93 NPC patients.


This retrospective study included 93 newly diagnosed NPC patients. Pretreatment ADC values were determined and compared with patients’ age, gender, alcohol intake, smoking, tumor volume, pathological type, tumor stage, and nodal stage. Using the Kaplan-Meier method, overall survival (OS), local relapse-free survival (LRFS), and distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) were calculated and the values compared between the low and high ADC groups. Multivariate analysis of ADC values and other 9 clinical parameters was performed using a Cox proportional hazards model to test the independent significance for OS, LRFS and DMFS.


The mean ADC value for the initial nasopharyngeal tumors was 0.72 × 10−3 mm2/s (range: 0.48–0.97 × 10−3 mm2/s). There was no significant difference between pretreatment ADCs and patient’ gender, age, smoking, alcohol intake, or tumor stage. A significant difference in the ADCs for different N stages (P = 0.022) and correlation with initial tumor volume (r = −0.26, P = 0.012) were observed. In comparison, the ADC value for undifferentiated carcinoma was lower than that for other 3 pathological types. With a median follow-up period of 50 months, the 3-year and 5-year OS rates were 88.2% and 83.3%, respectively, 3-year and 5-year LRFS rates were 93.5% and 93.3%, respectively, and 3-year and 5-year DMFS rates were 83.9% and 83.3%, respectively. Patients with tumor ADC values ≥0.72 × 10−3 mm2/s exhibited longer OS and LRFS periods compared with tumor ADC values <0.72 × 10−3 mm2/s, with P values 0.036 and 0.018, respectively. In addition, patients with deaths or recurrences or distant metastasis had significant lower ADC values than those without disease failures. According to a multivariate analysis using the Cox proportional hazard test, ADC values showed a significant correlation with OS (P = 0.0004), LRFS (P = 0.0009), and DMFS (P < 0.0001), respectively.


Pretreatment tumor ADC values supposed to be a noninvasive important prognostic parameter for NPC.
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