The diffusion-weighted imaging signal is derived from the motion of water molecules. It represents the physiological characteristics of tissue and is an essential imaging sequence for prostate cancer. Whole-body diffusion-weighted imaging facilitates the assessment of pathological conditions throughout the body. The concept of diffusion-weighted whole-body imaging with background body signal suppression and technological advances has led to routine clinical deployment of whole-body diffusion-weighted imaging as a one-step staging tool for prostate cancer. Furthermore, whole-body diffusion-weighted imaging has the potential to reveal the state of osseous lesions, for which conventional imaging techniques are suboptimal for monitoring the response to therapy, and extraosseous lesions, and holds promise as a new imaging-based therapeutic approach. This article reviews the basics of whole-body diffusion-weighted imaging, and focuses on application of whole-body diffusion-weighted imaging in the clinical management of prostate cancer at various stages in the course of the disease.
© 2021 The Japanese Urological Association.