COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Preoperative staging of non-small-cell lung cancer: comparison of whole-body diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography/computed tomography

Gregor Sommer, Mark Wiese, Leopold Winter, Claudia Lenz, Markus Klarhöfer, Flavio Forrer, Didier Lardinois, Jens Bremerich
European Radiology 2012, 22 (12): 2859-67
22772365

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the diagnostic value of whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) including diffusion-weighted imaging with background signal suppression (DWIBS) for preoperative assessment of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in comparison to (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18)FDG) positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT).

METHODS: Thirty-three patients with suspected NSCLC were enrolled. Patients were examined before surgery with PET/CT and whole-body MRI including T1-weighted turbo spin echo (TSE), T2-weighted short tau inversion recovery (STIR) and DWIBS sequences (b = 0/800). Histological or cytological specimens were taken as standard of reference.

RESULTS: Whole-body MRI with DWIBS as well as PET/CT provided diagnostic image quality in all cases. Sensitivity for primary tumour detection: MRI 93%, PET/CT 98%. T-staging accuracy: MRI 63%, PET/CT 56%. N-staging accuracy: MRI 66%, PET/CT 71%. UICC staging accuracy: MRI 66%, PET/CT 74%. Sensitivity for metastatic involvement of individual lymph node groups: MRI 44%, PET/CT 47%. Specificity for individual non-metastatic lymph node groups: MRI 93%, PET/CT 96%. Assessment accuracy for individual lymph node groups: MRI 85%, PET/CT 88%. Observer agreement rate for UICC staging: MRI 74%, PET/CT 90%.

CONCLUSION: Whole-body MRI with DWIBS provides comparable results to PET/CT in staging of NSCLC, but shows no superiority. Most relevant challenges for both techniques are T-staging accuracy and sensitivity for metastatic lymph node involvement.

KEY POINTS: Numerous radiological methods are available for the crucial staging of lung cancer. Whole-body DWIBS MRI provides comparable results to PET/CT in NSCLC staging. No evident superiority of whole-body DWIBS over PET/CT in NSCLC staging. Challenges for both techniques are T-staging and detection of small metastases.

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