• diffusion;
  • breast;
  • cancer;
  • prognosis;
  • magnetic resonance imaging


The aim of this study was to correlate the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) value of invasive ductal carcinoma with pathological prognostic factors. A prospective study was conducted on 59 untreated female patients (mean age 46 years) with invasive ductal carcinoma. All patients were examined at 1.5 Tesla using dedicated bilateral breast coil. They underwent diffusion weighted MR imaging of the breast using a single shot echo planar imaging with a b-factor of 200 and 400 sec/mm2. Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps were reconstructed. The ADC value of the breast cancer was calculated and correlated with the pathologic prognostic factors (tumor size, grade and lymph nodes). The mean ADC values of invasive ductal carcinoma were significantly lower in patients with high grade, large breast cancer as well as those with axillary lymph nodes metastasis in a statistically significant way (p = 0.001 for the three factors). The mean ADC value of invasive ductal carcinoma was correlated with histologic grade (r = −0.675, p = 0.001), tumor size (r = 0.504, p = 0.001) and showed lower ADC values with positive lymph node metastasis. Apparent diffusion coefficient value is correlated with pathological parameters of invasive ductal carcinoma. The lower ADC values are associated with higher histological grade, larger tumor size and presence of axillary lymph nodes. So, the ADC value can be considered as a promising prognostic parameter that may identify highly aggressive breast cancer. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.