The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical utility of a multishot spin–echo echo–planar (SE–EPI) diffusion-weighted sequence in the diagnostic work-up of soft tissue tumors. There were 29 patients, 16 with a benign lesion and 13 with a sarcoma. Four of the sarcomas were examined both before and after radiation therapy. Diffusion-weighted imaging was performed with a multishot SE–EPI sequence. The b values were 0 and 600 s/mm2. Phase navigation and pulse trigging were applied. The apparent diffusion constant (ADC) value of a large region of interest (ROI) representing the lesion was measured and compared with diagnosis and treatment. The ADC values of the benign lesions (mean 1.8×10−3 mm2/s) overlapped with nontreated sarcomas (mean 1.7×10−3 mm2/s). The ADC value increased in all radiated sarcomas. A multishot SE–EPI diffusion imaging sequence of less than 2-min duration is technically feasible in soft tissue tumours of the extremities and the trunk. The ADC values of benign soft tissue tumors and sarcomas overlapped and could not be used to differentiate between the bulk of benign and malignant tumors. However, the increase in ADC values of soft tissue sarcomas after radiotherapy warrants further studies of diffusion imaging for evaluating therapy response.
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