Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Chordoma is the most common malignant tumor of the sacrum and is associated with significant neurologic morbidity. Local recurrence is very common, and the long-term prognosis is poor. High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a noninvasive and nonionising ablative therapy that has been successful in treating other tumor types and is being evaluated as a new therapy for sacral chordoma. Contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging is typically used to evaluate tumor perfusion following HIFU; however, its utility is limited in poorly perfused tumors. Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) provides tissue contrast based on differences in the diffusion of extracellular water without using gadolinium-based contrast agents. We present novel DWI findings following a planned partial HIFU ablation of a large sacral chordoma which had recurred after radiotherapy. Following HIFU, the treated tumor volume demonstrated loss of restriction on DWI correlating with photopenia on positron emission tomography. This suggests successful ablation and tumor necrosis. This novel finding may provide guidance for sequence selection when evaluating HIFU therapy for sacral chordoma and other tumor types for which contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging may have limited utility.

Original publication




Journal article


Radiol Case Rep

Publication Date





1197 - 1201


Ablative therapy, Focused ultrasound, High-intensity focused ultrasound, Sacral chordoma, Therapeutic ultrasound