The value of DTI: achieving high diagnostic performance for brain metastasis



The evaluation of brain metastases generally requires post-contrast MRI exam, but some patients have contraindication to contrast medium administration.


To investigate the value of the MRI diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) for detection of metastatic brain tumor.

Materials and methods

We retrospectively analyzed the MRI data from 23 patients (13 males and 10 females) with brain metastases. The MRI protocol consisted in T1WI, T2WI, post-contrast 3DT1WI and DTI images (b = 1000) sequences. The brain metastatic lesions were counted in each of these sequences. We compared the advantages and limitations of different sequences in the brain metastases detection. The number of metastatic lesions identified on the contrast-enhanced 3DT1WI image is used as the reference. FA values were measured in the intratumoral, adjacent peritumoral and distant peritumoral edema area (PTEA) of brain metastasis, and the differences were statistically analyzed.


DTI can detect more brain metastatic lesions rather than T1WI and T2WI. The number of brain metastases on DTI is similar to post-contrast 3D T1WI. There is no statistical difference in the FA value change between the adjacent and distant PTEA.


The DTI original image can be used as an alternative examination for patients with contraindications to contrast-enhanced MRI. It has high sensitivity to intratumoral hemorrhage, which has advantage to detect brain metastatic lesions as compared with T1WI or T2WI images.

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This work was supported by the Department of Science and Technology of Guangdong Province [Applicable Grant or Contract Numbers: No. 2014A020212304].

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Giuseppe Guglielmi.

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All authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors

Ethical approval

The Ethic Committee approved this retrospective study.


Magnevist is still used to be the routine contrast medium during MRI in China. There is no associated prohibition about the use of the Magnevist.

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Liheng, M., Guofan, X., Balzano, R.F. et al. The value of DTI: achieving high diagnostic performance for brain metastasis. Radiol med (2020).

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  • Brain metastases
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)
  • Post-contrast Imaging