Diffusion-weighted imaging of brain metastases: their potential to be misinterpreted as focal ischaemic lesions.

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Small focal ischaemic brain lesions are said to be easy to identify in the acute stage and to differentiate from older lesions using diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI). Brain metastases are common and the aim of this study was to evaluate the risk of misinterpretation as ischaemic lesions in a standard MRI protocol for clinical stroke. Of 26 patients investigated with MRI for possible metastases, 12 did have metastatic brain lesions, including most of the common tumours. On a 1.5 tesla imager, we obtained DWI, plus T2- and T1-weighted images, the latter before and after triple-dose contrast medium. Well-circumscribed brain lesions with a decreased apparent diffusion coefficient and a slightly or moderately increased signal on T2-weighted images were found in patients with metastases from a small-cell bronchial carcinoma and a pulmonary adenocarcinoma. The same features were also found in metastases from a breast carcinoma but the lesions were surrounded by oedema. With a standard DWI protocol, the features of common brain metastases may overlap with those of small acute and subacute ischaemic lesions.


  • Bo Geijer
  • S Holtås
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)568-573
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch