To explore the value of diffusion-weighted imaging for early response detection of locally advanced esophageal squamous cell carcinoma with concurrent chemoradiotherapy.
Fifty-five (42 males, 13 females) patients with locally advanced esophageal cancer who were undergoing chemoradiotherapy were recruited for this study. Diffusion-weighted imaging was performed in all patients before therapy, at the first weekend, the second weekend, and the end of chemoradiotherapy. The rate of change in apparent diffusion coefficient value and the maximum diameter between pretherapy and posttherapy were calculated.
Fifty-five patients with locally advanced esophageal squamous cell carcinoma were classified as responders (40 cases) and nonresponders (15 cases). Before chemoradiotherapy, the responders group had a significantly lower apparent diffusion coefficient values than the nonresponders group ( = -4.815, = .000). At the 3 time points after chemoradiotherapy (first weekend, second weekend, and the end of chemoradiotherapy), there was no statistically significant difference in apparent diffusion coefficient values between responders and nonresponders ( > .05). The responders group had a significantly higher rate of change in apparent diffusion coefficient value than the nonresponders group at each time point ( < .05). At the first weekend of chemoradiotherapy, the rate of change in the maximum diameter was not significantly different in the 2 groups ( = 0.928, = .357). There was a negative correlation between the tumor apparent diffusion coefficient value of pretherapy and the reduction ratio of tumor maximum diameter at the end of chemoradiotherapy ( = -0.592, = .000).
The change rate of apparent diffusion coefficient value by the end of the first week after beginning chemoradiotherapy may be a sensitive indicator to detect the early response to locally advanced esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.