CT, MR, US,18F-FDG PET/CT, and their combined use for the assessment of cervical lymph node metastases in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck

Dae Young Yoon, Hee Sung Hwang, Suk Ki Chang, Young-Soo Rho, Hwoe Young Ahn, Jin Hwan Kim, In Jae Lee
European Radiology 2009, 19 (3): 634-42
The purpose of this retrospective study was to compare the diagnostic value of four different imaging methods-computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, ultrasonography (US), and (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET)/CT-and their combined use for preoperative detection of cervical nodal metastases in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Sixty-seven patients (58 men and 9 women; mean age, 60.1 years) with head and neck SCCs underwent CT, MR, US, and PET/CT before surgery. First, each study was reviewed separately for the presence of nodal metastases. Then, the value of combined images was assessed based on a confidence rating score for each modality assigned by observers. These results were verified, on a level-by-level basis, with histopathologic findings. Histopathologic examination revealed nodal metastases in 74 of 402 nodal levels. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were 77.0%, 99.4%, and 95.3% for CT and MR; 78.4%, 98.5%, and 94.8% for US; and 81.1%, 98.2%, and 95.0% for PET/CT, respectively. The comparison of these modalities showed no statistically significant difference among them (p > 0.05). The combination of CT, MR, US, and PET/CT improved sensitivity (86.5%), without loss of specificity (99.4%) and accuracy (97.0%), although the difference failed to reach statistical significance.

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