For DWI/ADC phantom measurements using a central post-processing algorithm, the maximum deviation could be decreased to 2%. However, there is no significant difference compared to a decentralized ADC value calculation at the respective MRI devices. In volunteers, the measurement variation in 2 repeated scans did not exceed 11% for ADC and is below 20% for single-shot T2w in systematic liver ROIs. The measurement variation between sites amounted to 20% for ADC and < 25% for single-shot T2w. Explorative radiomics classification experiments yield better results for ADC than for single-shot T2w.
Phantom and volunteer measurements (single-shot T2w and DW-EPI) were performed at the seven CCE sites using the MR hardware produced by three different vendors. Repeated measurements were performed at the sites and across the sites including a traveling volunteer, comparing qualitative and quantitative ROI-based results including an explorative radiomics analysis.
Harmonization of MR acquisition and post-processing parameters results in acceptable standard deviations for MR/DW imaging. MRI could be the tool in oncologic multicenter trials to overcome the limitations of RECIST-based response evaluation.
In the Cancer Core Europe Consortium (CCE), standardized biomarkers are required for therapy monitoring oncologic multicenter clinical trials. Multiparametric functional MRI and particularly diffusion-weighted MRI offer evident advantages for noninvasive characterization of tumor viability compared to CT and RECIST. A quantification of the inter- and intraindividual variation occurring in this setting using different hardware is missing. In this study, the MRI protocol including DWI was standardized and the residual variability of measurement parameters quantified.
• Harmonizing acquisition parameters and post-processing homogenization, standardized protocols result in acceptable standard deviations for multicenter MR-DWI studies. • Total measurement variation does not to exceed 11% for ADC in repeated measurements in repeated MR acquisitions, and below 20% for an identical volunteer travelling between sites. • Radiomic classification experiments were able to identify stable features allowing for reliable discrimination of different physiological tissue samples, even when using heterogeneous imaging data.