[Comparison of high resolution whole-body MRI using parallel imaging and PET-CT. First experiences with a 32-channel MRI system]

G P Schmidt, A Baur-Melnyk, R Tiling, K Hahn, M F Reiser, S O Schoenberg
Der Radiologe 2004, 44 (9): 889-98

PURPOSE: To compare the accuracy in the detection and staging of various malignant tumors with high resolution whole-body MRI using parallel imaging with whole-body dual-modality PET-CT.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Preliminary results of an interim analysis from a prospective, blinded study are presented, in which 20 patients (mean age 59 years, range 27-77 years) with different oncological diseases underwent whole-body dual modality FDG-PET-CT screening for tumor search or staging in case of confirmed or suspected metastatic disease. All patients also underwent whole-body MRI imaging with the use of parallel imaging (iPAT). High-resolution coronal T1w- and STIR-sequences of 5 body levels with 512 x 512 matrix, axial fast T2w imaging of lung and abdomen (HASTE), contrast-enhanced dynamic and static T1w-sequences of liver, brain, abdomen, and pelvis were performed. Using a 32-channel whole-body MRI scanner (Magnetom Avanto, Siemens Medical Solutions) with a total field of view of 205 cm and free table movement, all patients could be covered from head to toe within one examination. With this technique, high spatial resolution and acceptable scanning times could be obtained. Two experienced radiologists read the MRI-scans, one radiologist and one nuclear scientist read PET-CT scans, each in consensus in a clinical setting. Delineation of the primary tumor (T-stage) or recurrent tumor, pathologic lymph node involvement, as well as degree and localization of metastatic disease, was assessed using PET-CT as standard of reference.

RESULTS: Metastases from gastrointestinal tumor (25%) and breast cancer (25%), genitourinary tumor (15%) and malignant melanoma (15%) were detected. In 4/20 patients the primary tumor was identified, 2/20 patients showed recurrent tumor. Of 140 malignant lesions detected by PET-CT, 124 lesions were detected with MRI, resulting in a sensitivity of 89% at a specificity of 86%. In malignant lymph node detection, sensitivity of MRI was 83% and specificity 85%.

CONCLUSION: Whole-body MRI is a promising technique in the detection of primary tumor and metastatic disease. Sensitivity in the assessment of lymph node metastases seems to be limited. With the use of parallel imaging (iPAT), dedicated high-resolution whole-body MRI is possible within acceptable scanning times.

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