Renal cortical tumors: use of multiphasic contrast-enhanced MR imaging to differentiate benign and malignant histologic subtypes

Hebert Alberto Vargas, Joshua Chaim, Robert A Lefkowitz, Yulia Lakhman, Junting Zheng, Chaya S Moskowitz, Michael J Sohn, Lawrence H Schwartz, Paul Russo, Oguz Akin
Radiology 2012, 264 (3): 779-88

PURPOSE: To investigate the use of quantitative multiphasic contrast material-enhanced magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in differentiating between common benign and malignant histologic subtypes of renal cortical tumors.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The institutional review board waived informed consent and approved this retrospective HIPAA-compliant study of 138 patients who underwent preoperative contrast-enhanced MR imaging during the period of January 2004-December 2008. At surgery, 152 renal tumors were identified (77 clear cell, 22 papillary, 18 chromophobe, and 10 unclassified carcinomas; 16 oncocytomas; nine angiomyolipomas). Three readers independently identified and measured the most-enhanced area in each tumor and placed corresponding regions of interest in similar positions on images from the precontrast, corticomedullary, nephrographic, and excretory phases. The percentage change in signal intensity (%SI change) between precontrast imaging and each postcontrast phase was calculated. Interreader agreement was evaluated by using the overall concordance correlation coefficient (OCC). A linear mixed-effects model was used to estimate and compare the trajectories of the means of log %SI change across all phases between the six histologic subtypes.

RESULTS: Interreader agreement was substantial to almost perfect (OCC, 0.77-0.88). The %SI change differed significantly between clear cell carcinomas and papillary and chromophobe carcinomas in all phases of enhancement (P < .0001-.0120). In addition, %SI change was significantly higher in angiomyolipomas than in clear cell carcinomas, but only in the corticomedullary phase (P = .0231). Enhancement did not differ significantly between clear cell carcinoma and oncocytoma in any phase (P = .2081-.6000).

CONCLUSION: Quantitative multiphase contrast-enhanced MR imaging offers a widely available, reproducible method to characterize several histologic subtypes of renal cortical tumors, although it does not aid differentiation between clear cell carcinomas and oncocytomas.

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