BackgroundTo evaluate whether readout-segment echo-planar imaging (RS-EPI) can provide better image quality in assessing bladder cancer than single-shot echo-planar imaging (SS-EPI) and to compare quantitative imaging parameters derived from both techniques.MethodsSeventy patients with bladder lesions were enrolled and underwent diffusion-weighted imaging on a 3 Tesla magnetic resonance scanner using axial RS-EPI and SS-EPI techniques. Two observers independently assessed the susceptibility, detectability, motion artefacts and blurring of the images using qualitative scores. The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), signal intensity ratio (SIR), contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) and ADC values of the bladder lesions were measured and compared between the two techniques and between two observers. Qualitative and quantitative comparisons of image quality were performed using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test and paired t-test. In addition, the agreement of the ADC measurements was evaluated using ICC values and Bland-Altman plots.ResultsSixty-eight patients were included in the final analysis. The scores of image susceptibility, detectability and blurring for RS-EPI were significantly higher than those for SS-EPI (all p < 0.05), while the motion artefact was not. There were significant differences between RS-EPI and SS-EPI in the CNR and SIR values (all p < 0.05) but not in the SNR or ADC values (all p > 0.05). The ICC values and Bland-Altman plots also showed excellent agreement between the measured ADC values of the bladder lesions.ConclusionsThe RS-EPI technique provides significantly better image quality in patients with bladder cancer than the SS-EPI technique, without a significant difference in the ADC value.