Purpose: To assess the usefulness of amide proton transfer (APT) imaging in differentiating parotid tumors. Material and methods: We retrospectively analyzed 43 histopathologically proven parotid solid tumors with diameters ≥2 cm. Twenty-one tumors were benign and 12 tumors were malignant. Two-dimensional APT imaging was performed using a saturation pulse with a duration of 2 s and a saturation power level of 2 μT. For acquiring Z-spectra, the imaging was repeated at 25 saturation frequency offsets from ω = −6 to +6 ppm with a step of 0.5 ppm as well as one scan acquired far off-resonance (−1560 ppm) for signal normalization. For the APT imaging, the asymmetry analysis at 3.5 ppm downfield from the water signal was calculated. The mean APT signal intensity (SI) was compared between the benign and malignant tumors. Results: The mean APT SI was 2.23 ± 0.80 % in the benign tumors and significantly higher at 2.99 ± 0.99 % in the malignant tumors (P = 0.01). A receiver operating curve analysis revealed that the optimal APT SI threshold was 2.40 for distinguishing malignant tumors from benign tumors with an area under the curve of 0.74. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were 83.3%, 61.3%, and 67.4%, respectively. Conclusion: The mean APT SI of the malignant parotid tumors was significantly higher than that of the benign parotid tumors.
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