Preoperative evaluation of malignant liver tumors: comparison of unenhanced and SPIO (Resovist)-enhanced MR imaging with biphasic CTAP and intraoperative US

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic efficacy of iron-oxide-enhanced MRI vs CT during arterial portography (CTAP) and intraoperative ultrasound (IOUS) in detection of liver neoplasms. Seventeen patients with malignant focal liver lesions (liver metastases, n=7), hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC, n=9), and cholangiocellular carcinoma (CCC, n=1) underwent presurgical Resovistenhanced MRI and CTAP. Two independent observers (A and B) assessed the blinded images of unenhanced and iron-oxide-enhanced MRI vs CTAP for the presence, number, and location of the liver lesions. These results were compared lesion by lesion and segment by segment with the results of intraoperative ultrasound (n=17) serving as the reference standard. Eighty lesions were detected by intraoperative ultrasound in 17 patients. In comparison with IOUS (lesion-by-lesion analysis) the sensitivity was 86.8% for CTAP, 65% for combined unenhanced MR imaging, and 86.8% for combined Resovist-enhanced MRI as well as 86.8% for the combination of unenhanced and Resovist-enhanced MRI. Compared with the sensitivity of combined unenhanced MRI the sensitivity of CTAP as well as the sensitivity of combined Resovistenhanced MRI was significantly higher (p<0.05). False-positive results were much higher in CTAP as compared with combined unenhanced and SPIO-enhanced MRI. Using the segment-by-segment analysis the specificity of combined unenhanced MRI with 100% (96.7-100%) as well as combined Resovist-enhanced MRI with 100% (96.7-100%) was significantly higher (p<0.05) in comparison with the specificity of CTAP with 91.1% (83.2-96.1%). The accuracy of combined unenhanced MRI was 100% (93.2-100%), combined Resovistenhanced MRI 100% (93.6-100%) and of CTAP 85.2% (72.9-93.4%). In the detection of focal liver lesions iron-oxide-enhanced MR imaging is superior to unenhanced MRI and similar to CTAP.

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