Several studies have analyzed a correlation between the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) derived from diffusion-weighted MRI and the tumor cellularity of corresponding histopathological specimens in brain tumors with inconclusive findings.
Theoretically, high cellularity in advanced gliomas may impede free water diffusion and thus lead to a decreased ADC value. In a study by Higano et al., the minimum ADC varied significantly between WHO grade III 3).
Another study also revealed a significantly higher frequency of low ADC values in high- compared with low-grade gliomas 4)).
Data confirms a previously reported inverse correlation between ADC and tumor cellularity. However, the correlation in the Eide et al article is weaker than the pooled correlation of comparable previous studies. Hence, besides cell density, other factors, such as necrosis and edema might influence ADC values in glioblastomas 5).
ADC measurements are better than rCBV values for distinguishing the grades of gliomas. The combination of minimum ADC and maximum rCBV improves the diagnostic accuracy of glioma grading 6).
Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values have been shown to assist in differentiating cerebellar pilocytic astrocytomas and medulloblastomas. Previous studies have applied only ADC measurements and calculated the mean/median values.