Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Bronchioloalveolar Carcinoma

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The purpose of this study is to describe the magnetic resonance (MR) features of bronchioloalveolar carcinoma. MR examinations of 18 patients with proven bronchioloalveolar carcinoma were reviewed. Detection at computed tomography (CT) and pathologic confirmation were the entry criteria. Nine patients had a solitary nodule, three patients a lobar consolidation, and six patients had diffuse disease. For each patient, both breath-hold T2-weighted fast spin-echo, and breath-hold T1-weighted gradient-echo images, before and after injection of gadolinium, were available. Nine patients with pulmonary consolidation or diffuse disease had also heavily T2-weighted MR imaging (Haste or TSE 240; Siemens, Erlangen, Germany). MR imaging showed pulmonary abnormalities in 17 of 18 patients. Unenhanced T1-weighted and T2-weighted images depicted tumor in 16 of 18 patients. Contrast-enhanced T1-weighted images showed tumor in 17 of 18 patients. In no case did MR imaging depict abnormalities corresponding to the ground-glass opacities seen on CT scans. In three patients with mucinous bronchioloalveolar carcinoma, heavily T2-weighted images showed lesions isointense with respect to static fluid of the human body. In conclusion, the ability of MR imaging in detecting small nodules and ground-glass opacities is limited. However, heavily T2-weighted sequences are able to show the presence of mucin. This is useful information because mucinous bronchioloalveolar carcinoma carries a poor prognosis.

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