RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Differentiation of central lung cancer from atelectasis: comparison of diffusion-weighted MRI with PET/CT.

OBJECTIVE: Prospectively assess the performance of diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) for differentiation of central lung cancer from atelectasis.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: 38 consecutive lung cancer patients (26 males, 12 females; age range: 28-71 years; mean age: 49 years) who were referred for thoracic MR imaging examinations were enrolled. MR examinations were performed using a 1.5-T clinical scanner and scanning sequences of T1WI, T2WI, and DWI. Cancers and atelectasis were measured by mapping of the apparent diffusion coefficients (ADCs) obtained with a b-value of 500 s/mm(2).

RESULTS: PET/CT and DW-MR allowed differentiation of tumor and atelectasis in all 38 cases, but T2WI did not allow differentiation in 9 cases. Comparison of conventional T2WI and DW-MRI indicated a higher contrast noise ratio of the central lung carcinoma than the atelectasis by DW-MRI. ADC maps indicated significantly lower mean ADC in the central lung carcinoma than in the atelectasis (1.83±0.58 vs. 2.90±0.26 mm(2)/s, p<0.0001). ADC values of small cell lung carcinoma were significantly greater than those from squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma (p<0.0001 for both).

CONCLUSIONS: DW-MR imaging provides valuable information not obtained by conventional MR and may be useful for differentiation of central lung carcinoma from atelectasis. Future developments may allow DW-MR imaging to be used as an alternative to PET-CT in imaging of patients with lung cancer.

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