Objective: To study the difference of the Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (DCE-MRI) parameters among the primary tumor, metastatic node and peripheral normal tissue of head and neck cancer.
Materials and Methods: Consecutive newly-diagnosed head and neck cancer patients with nodal metastasis between December 2010 and July 2013 were recruited, and 25 patients (8 females; 24~63, mean 43±11 years old) were enrolled. DCE-MRI was performed in the primary tumor region including the regional lymph nodes on a 3.0-T MRI system. Three quantitative parameters: Ktrans (volume transfer constant), ve (volume fraction of extravascular extracellular space) and kep (the rate constant of contrast transfer) were calculated for the largest node. A repeated-measure ANOVA with a Greenhouse-Geisser correction and post hoc tests using the Bonferroni correction were used to evaluate the differences in Ktrans, ve and kep among primary tumors, metastatic nodes and normal tissue.
Results: The values of both Ktrans and ve of normal tissue differed significantly from those of nodes (both P < 0.001) and primary tumors (both P < 0.001) respectively, while no significant differences of Ktrans and ve were observed between nodes and primary tumors (P = 0.075 and 0.365 respectively). The kep values of primary tumors were significantly different from those of nodes (P = 0.001) and normal tissue (P = 0.002), while no significant differences between nodes and normal tissue (P > 0.999).
Conclusion: The DCE-MRI parameters were different in the tumors, metastatic nodes and normal tissue in head and neck cancer. These findings may be useful in the characterization of head and neck cancer.