Comparative study of two whole-body imaging techniques in the case of melanoma metastases: advantages of multi-contrast MRI examination including a diffusion-weighted sequence in comparison with PET-CT

Valérie Laurent, Grégory Trausch, Olivier Bruot, Pierre Olivier, Jacques Felblinger, Denis Régent
European Journal of Radiology 2010, 75 (3): 376-83
The aim of our study was to compare whole-body MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) with a multi-contrast protocol including a DW (Diffusion Weighted) sequence to PET-CT (Positron Emission Tomography) using (18)FDG (18F-fluoroDeoxyGlucose) for staging advanced melanoma. In a first part, we compared the respective overall accuracy of each modality. We analyzed in a second part the benefits of a DW sequence added to the standard whole-body MRI protocol. Among the population of the 35 patients who experienced the two examinations of our prospective blinded study, we were able to detect 120 lesions and 70 of them were found malignant. The sensitivity and specificity for whole-body MRI were respectively 82% and 97%, while PET-CT reached 72.8% and 92.7%. DW sequence allowed the detection of 14 supplementary malignant lesions (20%) in comparison with standard MRI protocol. Moreover, this technique has been shown to be the most accurate for detecting metastases in the liver, bone, subcutaneous and intra-peritoneal sites. Consequently, a DW sequence should be added systematically to the standard whole-body MRI oncologic protocol because of its high added-value for metastasis detection.

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