Diagnostic Performance of Diffusion Tensor Imaging for Characterizing Breast Tumors: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis.

Wang K , Li Z , Wu Z , Zheng Y , Zeng S , E L , Liang J
Controversy still exists on the diagnosability of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) for breast lesions characterization across published studies. The clinical guideline of DTI used in the breast has not been established. This meta-analysis aims to pool relevant evidences and evaluate the diagnostic performance of DTI in the differential diagnosis of malignant and benign breast lesions. The studies that assessed the diagnostic performance of DTI parameters in the breast were searched in Embase, PubMed, and Cochrane Library between January 2010 and September 2019. Standardized mean differences and 95% confidence intervals of fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), and three diffusion eigenvalues (λ1, λ2, and λ3) were calculated using Review Manager 5.2. The pooled sensitivity, specificity, and area under the curve (AUC) were calculated with a bivariate model. Publication bias and heterogeneity between studies were also assessed using Stata 12.0. Sixteen eligible studies incorporating 1,636 patients were included. The standardized mean differences indicated that breast cancers had a significantly higher FA but lower MD, λ1, λ2, and λ3 than those of benign lesions (all < 0.05). Subgroup analysis indicated that invasive breast carcinoma (IBC) had a significantly lower MD value than that of ductal carcinoma (DCIS) ( = 0.02). λ1 showed the best diagnostic accuracy with pooled sensitivity, specificity, and AUC of 93%, 92%, and 0.97, followed by MD (AUC = 0.92, sensitivity = 87%, specificity = 83%) and FA (AUC = 0.76, sensitivity = 70%, specificity = 70%) in the differential diagnosis of breast lesions. DTI with multiple quantitative parameters was adequate to differentiate breast cancers from benign lesions based on their biological characteristics. MD can further distinguish IBC from DCIS. The parameters, especially λ1 and MD, should attract our attention in clinical practice.

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