A Prospective Study of Diffusion-weighted Magnetic Resonance Imaging as an Early Prognostic Biomarker in Chemoradiotherapy in Squamous Cell Carcinomas of the Anus.
Muirhead R., Bulte D., Cooke R., Chu K-Y., Durrant L., Goh V., Jacobs C., Ng SM., Strauss VY., Virdee PS., Qi C., Hawkins MA.
AIMS: The use of diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) as a prognostic marker of treatment response would enable early individualisation of treatment. We aimed to quantify the changes in mean apparent diffusion coefficient (ΔADCmean) between a DW-MRI at diagnosis and on fraction 8-10 of chemoradiotherapy (CRT) as a biomarker for cellularity, and correlate these with anal squamous cell carcinoma recurrence. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This prospective study recruited patients with localised anal cancer between October 2014 and November 2017. DW-MRI was carried out at diagnosis and after fraction 8-10 of radical CRT. A region of interest was delineated for all primary tumours and any lymph nodes >2 cm on high-resolution T2-weighted images and propagated to the ADC map. Routine clinical follow-up was collected from Nation Health Service electronic systems. RESULTS: Twenty-three of 29 recruited patients underwent paired DW-MRI scans. Twenty-six regions of interest were delineated among the 23 evaluable patients. The median (range) tumour volume was 13.6 cm3 (2.8-84.9 cm3). Ten of 23 patients had lesions with ΔADCmean ≤ 20%. With a median follow-up of 41.2 months, four patients either failed to have a complete response to CRT or subsequently relapsed. Three of four patients with disease relapse had lesions demonstrating ΔADCmean <20%, the other patient with persistent disease had ΔADCmean of 20.3%. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated a potential correlation between patients with ΔADCmean <20% and disease relapse. Further investigation of the prognostic merit of DW-MRI change is needed in larger, prospective cohorts.