Diffusion-weighted MRI: Distinction of skull base chordoma from chondrosarcoma

Kristen W. Yeom, R. M. Lober, B. C. Mobley, G. Harsh, H. Vogel, R. Allagio, M. Pearson, M. S.B. Edwards, N. J. Fischbein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Chordoma and chondrosarcoma of the skull base are rare tumors with overlapping presentations and anatomic imaging features but different prognoses. We hypothesized that these tumors might be distinguished by using diffusion-weighted MR imaging. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 19 patients with pathologically confirmed chordoma or chondrosarcoma who underwent both conventional and diffusion-weighted MR imaging. Differences in distributions of ADC were assessed by the Kruskal-Wallis test. Associations between histopathologic diagnosis and conventional MR imaging features (T2 signal intensity, contrast enhancement, and tumor location) were assessed with the Fisher exact test. RESULTS: Chondrosarcoma was associated with the highest mean ADC value (2051 ± 261 × 10-6 mm2/s) and was significantly different from classic chordoma (1474 ± 117 × 10-6 mm2/s) and poorly differentiated chordoma (875 ± 100 × 10-6 mm2/s) (P < .001). Poorly differentiated chordoma was characterized by low T2 signal intensity (P = .001), but other conventional MR imaging features of enhancement and/or lesion location did not reliably distinguish these tumor types. CONCLUSIONS: Diffusion-weighted MR imaging may be useful in assessing clival tumors, particularly in differentiating chordoma from chondrosarcoma. A prospective study of a larger cohort will be required to determine the value of ADC in predicting histopathologic diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1056-1061
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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