Invasion of laryngeal cartilage by cancer: comparison of CT and MR imaging

J A Castelijns, G J Gerritsen, M C Kaiser, J Valk, T E van Zanten, R G Golding, C J Meyer, L H van Hattum, M Sprenger, P D Bezemer
Radiology 1988, 167 (1): 199-206
Forty-two patients with laryngeal carcinomas were examined with computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. The accuracy of both CT and MR imaging in the depiction of cartilage invasion was evaluated in 16 patients by comparing findings at CT and MR with pathologic findings. Calcified cartilage that has been invaded by cancer is frequently seen on CT scans as having an intact contour. Tumor approaching nonossified cartilage may simulate cartilage invasion. On T1-weighted MR images, invaded marrow of ossified cartilage is of intermediate signal intensity, allowing it to be differentiated from normal bone marrow. On proton-density images, tumor is of increased signal intensity, which allows it to be differentiated from nonossified cartilage. In our experience, the specificities of CT and MR imaging were approximately equal (91% and 88%, respectively), but CT had a considerably lower sensitivity than MR (46% vs. 89%). Gross movement artifacts, which resulted in nondiagnostic images, occurred in 16% of the MR examinations. MR imaging is recommended as the modality of choice in the diagnosis of cartilage invasion.

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