Pediatric and adolescent lymphoma: comparison of whole-body STIR half-Fourier RARE MR imaging with an enhanced PET/CT reference for initial staging

Shonit Punwani, Stuart A Taylor, Alan Bainbridge, Vineet Prakash, Steven Bandula, Enrico De Vita, Oystein E Olsen, Sharon F Hain, Nicola Stevens, Stephen Daw, Ananth Shankar, Jamshed B Bomanji, Paul D Humphries
Radiology 2010, 255 (1): 182-90

PURPOSE: To compare the diagnostic performance of rapid whole-body anatomic magnetic resonance (MR) staging of pediatric and adolescent lymphoma to an enhanced positron emission tomographic (PET)/computed tomographic (CT) reference standard.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Ethical permission was given by the University College London Hospital ethics committee, and informed written consent was obtained from all participants and/or parents or guardians. Thirty-one subjects (age range, 7.3-18.0 years; 18 male, 11 female) with histologically proved lymphoma were prospectively recruited. Pretreatment staging was performed with whole-body short inversion time inversion-recovery (STIR) half-Fourier rapid acquisition with relaxation enhancement (RARE) MR imaging, fluorine 18 fluorodeoxyglucose PET/CT, and contrast agent-enhanced chest CT. Twenty-six subjects had posttreatment PET/CT and compromised our final cohort. Eleven nodal and 11 extranodal sites per patient were assessed on MR imaging by two radiologists in consensus, with a nodal short-axis threshold of >1 cm and predefined extranodal positivity criteria. The same sites were independantly evaluated by two nuclear medicine physicians on PET/CT images. Disease positivity was defined as a maximum standardized uptake value >2.5 or nodal size >1 cm. An unblinded expert panel reevaluated the imaging findings, removing perceptual errors, and derived an enhanced PET/CT reference standard (taking into account chest CT and 3-month follow-up imaging) against which the reported and intrinsic performance of MR imaging was assessed by using the kappa statistic.

RESULTS: There was very good agreement between MR imaging and the enhanced PET/CT reference standard for nodal and extranodal staging (kappa = 0.96 and 0.86, respectively) which improved following elimination of perceptual errors (kappa = 0.97 and 0.91, respectively). The sensitivity and specificity of MR imaging (following removal of perceptual error) were 98% and 99%, respectively, for nodal disease and 91% and 99%, respectively, for extranodal disease.

CONCLUSION: Whole-body STIR half-Fourier RARE MR imaging of pediatric and adolescent lymphoma can accurately depict nodal and extranodal disease and may provide an alternative nonionizing imaging method for anatomic disease assessment at initial staging.

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