Value of retrospective fusion of PET and MR images in detection of hepatic metastases: comparison with 18F-FDG PET/CT and Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI

Olivio F Donati, Thomas F Hany, Caecilia S Reiner, Gustav K von Schulthess, Borut Marincek, Burkhardt Seifert, Dominik Weishaupt
Journal of Nuclear Medicine 2010, 51 (5): 692-9

UNLABELLED: The purpose of this study was to compare the accuracy of lesion detection and diagnostic confidence between (18)F-FDG PET/CT, gadolinium-ethoxybenzyl-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (Gd-EOB-DTPA)-enhanced MRI, and retrospectively fused PET and MRI (PET/MRI).

METHODS: Thirty-seven patients (mean age +/- SD, 60.2 +/- 12 y) with suspected liver metastases underwent PET/CT and Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI within 0-30 d (mean, 11.9 +/- 9 d). PET and Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MR image data were retrospectively fused. Images were reviewed independently by 2 readers who identified and characterized liver lesions using PET/CT, Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI, and PET/MRI. Each liver lesion was graded on a 5-point confidence scale ranging from definitely benign (grade of 1) to definitely malignant (grade of 5). The accuracy of each technique was determined by receiver-operating-characteristic analysis. Histopathology served as the standard of reference for all patients with malignant lesions.

RESULTS: A total of 85 liver lesions (55 liver metastases [65%] and 30 benign lesions [35%]) were present in 29 (78%) of the 37 patients. Twenty-four (65%) of the 37 patients had liver metastases. The detection rate of liver lesions was significantly lower for PET/CT than for Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI (64% and 85%; P = 0.002). Sensitivity in the detection and characterization of liver metastases for PET/CT, Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI, PET/MRI in reader 1, and PET/MRI in reader 2 was 76%, 91%, 93%, and 93%, respectively; the respective specificity values were 90%, 100%, 87%, and 97%. The difference in sensitivity between PET/CT and PET/MRI was significant (P = 0.023). The level of confidence regarding liver lesions larger than 1 cm in diameter was significantly higher in PET/MRI than in PET/CT (P = 0.046). Accuracy values (area under the receiver-operating-characteristic curve) for PET/CT, Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI, PET/MRI in reader 1, and PET/MRI in reader 2 were 0.85, 0.94, 0.92, and 0.96, respectively.

CONCLUSION: The sensitivity of Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI and PET/MRI in the detection of liver metastases is higher than that of PET/CT. Diagnostic confidence was significantly better with PET/MRI than with PET/CT regarding lesions larger than 1 cm in diameter. Compared with Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI, PET/MRI resulted in a nonsignificant increase in sensitivity and diagnostic confidence.

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