Application of whole body diffusion-weighted MRI (WB-DWI) for oncology are rapidly increasing within both research and routine clinical domains. However, WB-DWI as a quantitative imaging biomarker (QIB) has significantly slower adoption. To date, challenges relating to accuracy and reproducibility, essential criteria for a good QIB, have limited widespread clinical translation. In recognition, a UK workgroup was established in 2016 to provide technical consensus guidelines (to maximise accuracy and reproducibility of WB-MRI QIBs) and accelerate the clinical translation of quantitative WB-DWI applications for oncology.
A panel of experts convened from cancer centres around the UK with subspecialty expertise in quantitative imaging and/or the use of WB-MRI with DWI. A formal consensus method was used to obtain consensus agreement regarding best practice. Questions were asked about the appropriateness or otherwise on scanner hardware and software, sequence optimisation, acquisition protocols, reporting, and ongoing quality control programs to monitor precision and accuracy and agreement on quality control.
The consensus panel was able to reach consensus on 73% (255/351) items and based on consensus areas made recommendations to maximise accuracy and reproducibly of quantitative WB-DWI studies performed at 1.5T. The panel were unable to reach consensus on the majority of items related to quantitative WB-DWI performed at 3T.
This UK Quantitative WB-DWI Technical Workgroup consensus provides guidance on maximising accuracy and reproducibly of quantitative WB-DWI for oncology. The consensus guidance can be used by researchers and clinicians to harmonise WB-DWI protocols which will accelerate clinical translation of WB-DWI-derived QIBs.