Differentiation of clinically benign and malignant breast lesions using diffusion-weighted imaging




To evaluate the value of diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) in distinguishing between benign and malignant breast lesions.

Materials and Methods

Fifty-two female subjects (mean age = 58 years, age range = 25–75 years) with histopathologically proven breast lesions underwent DWI of the breasts with a single-shot echo-planar imaging (EPI) sequence using large b values. The computed mean apparent diffusion coefficients (ADCs) of the breast lesions and cell density were then correlated.


The ADCs varied substantially between benign breast lesions ((1.57 ± 0.23) × 10−3 mm2/second) and malignant breast lesions ((0.97 ± 0.20) × 10−3 mm2/second). In addition, the mean ADCs of the breast lesions correlated well with tumor cellularity (P < 0.01, r = −0.542).


The ADC would be an effective parameter in distinguishing between malignant and benign breast lesions. Further, tumor cellularity has a significant influence on the ADCs obtained in both benign and malignant breast tumors. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2002;16:172–178. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.