BACKGROUND:To evaluate if normal and pathological prostate tissue can be distinguished by using apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and to understand if it is possible to differentiate among pathological prostate tissues using ADC values.METHODS:Our population consisted in 81 patients (mean age 65.4 years) in which 84 suspicious areas were identified. Regions of interest were placed over suspicious areas, detected on MRI, and over areas with normal appearance, and ADC values were recorded. Statistical differences between ADC values of suspicious and normal areas were evaluated. Histopathological diagnosis, obtained from targeted biopsy using MRI-US fusion biopsies in 39 patients and from prostatectomy in 42 patients, were correlated to ADC values.RESULTS:Histopathological diagnosis revealed 58 cases of prostate cancer (PCa), 19 patients with indolent PCa (Gleason Score ≤6) and 39 patients with clinically significant PCa (Gleason Score ≥7), 16 of high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HG-PIN) and 10 of atypical small acinar proliferation (ASAP). Significant statistical differences between mean ADC values of normal prostate tissue versus PCa (P<0.00001), HG-PIN (P<0.00001) and ASAP (P<0.00001) were found. Significant differences were observed between mean ADC values of PCa versus HG-PIN (P<0.00001) and ASAP (P<0.00001) with many overlapping values. Differences between mean ADC values of HG-PIN versus ASAP (P=0.015) were not significant. Significant differences of ADC values were also observed between patients with indolent and clinically significant PCa (P<0.00001).CONCLUSIONS:ADC values allow differentiation between normal and pathological prostate tissue and between indolent and clinically significant PCa but do not allow a definite differentiation between PCa, HG-PIN, and ASAP.