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Efficacy of fat quantification methods used in MRI to distinguish between normal, benign, and malignant bone marrow pathologies in children.

Acta Radiologica 2024 April 25
BACKGROUND: Fat quantification methods in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have been studied to differentiate bone marrow pathologies in adult patients; however, scarce literature is available in pediatric patients.

PURPOSE: To evaluate the efficacy of the T1 signal intensity value (T1-SIV), out-of-phase/in-phase signal ratio (OP/IP SR), and fat fraction (FF) to differentiate between normal, benign, and malignant pathological processes.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A total of 48 pediatric patients with lumbar and pelvic MRI were classified into three groups according to bone marrow pathology (group 1, normal; group 2, benign pathology/reconversion; group 3, malignant). The efficacy of T1-SIV, OP/IP SR, and FF values in differentiating these pathologies was evaluated using Kruskal-Wallis or analysis of variance and followed by Bonferroni or Dunn-Bonferroni tests. Cutoff values for malignant infiltration were defined using ROC analysis.

RESULTS: Although these values were significantly different in all three groups ( P  = 0.001-0.008), this difference was not sufficient to discriminate between all groups. Subgroup analyses showed significant differences in T1-SIV between groups 1-3, in OP/IP SR between groups 1-3, 2-3, and 1-2, in FF between groups 1-2 and 1-3 in various regions ( P  = 0.001-0.049). Cutoff values had a sensitivity and specificity of 90%-100% for OP/IP SR and FF.

CONCLUSION: T1-SIV, OP/IP SR, and FF may potentially distinguish normal from pathological bone marrow. OP/IP SR and FF values detected malignant infiltration with high sensitivity and specificity in this study. However, only OP/IP SR may significantly differentiate benign and malignant bone marrow pathologies which needs to be confirmed in the future study with a larger patient population.

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