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Deep Learning Reconstruction to Improve the Quality of MR Imaging: Evaluating the Best Sequence for T-category Assessment in Non-small Cell Lung Cancer Patients.

PURPOSE: Deep learning reconstruction (DLR) has been recommended as useful for improving image quality. Moreover, compressed sensing (CS) or DLR has been proposed as useful for improving temporal resolution and image quality on MR sequences in different body fields. However, there have been no reports regarding the utility of DLR for image quality and T-factor assessment improvements on T2-weighted imaging (T2WI), short inversion time (TI) inversion recovery (STIR) imaging, and unenhanced- and contrast-enhanced (CE) 3D fast spoiled gradient echo (GRE) imaging with and without CS in comparison with thin-section multidetector-row CT (MDCT) for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. The purpose of this study was to determine the utility of DLR for improving image quality and the appropriate sequence for T-category assessment for NSCLC patients.

METHODS: As subjects for this study, 213 pathologically diagnosed NSCLC patients who underwent thin-section MDCT and MR imaging as well as T-factor diagnosis were retrospectively enrolled. SNR of each tumor was calculated and compared by paired t-test for each sequence with and without DLR. T-factor for each patient was assessed with thin-section MDCT and all MR sequences, and the accuracy for T-factor diagnosis was compared among all sequences and thin-section CT by means of McNemar's test.

RESULTS: SNRs of T2WI, STIR imaging, unenhanced thin-section Quick 3D imaging, and CE-thin-section Quick 3D imaging with DLR were significantly higher than SNRs of those without DLR (P < 0.05). Diagnostic accuracy of STIR imaging and CE-thick- or thin-section Quick 3D imaging was significantly higher than that of thin-section CT, T2WI, and unenhanced thick- or thin-section Quick 3D imaging (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: DLR is thus considered useful for image quality improvement on MR imaging. STIR imaging and CE-Quick 3D imaging with or without CS were validated as appropriate MR sequences for T-factor evaluation in NSCLC patients.

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