Diagnostic Accuracy and Sensitivity of Diffusion-Weighted and of Gadoxetic Acid-Enhanced 3-T MR Imaging Alone or in Combination in the Detection of Small Liver Metastasis (≤1.5 cm in Diameter)

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Purpose:To compare the diagnostic accuracy and sensitivity of combined gadoxetic acid-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) with each imaging approach alone for detecting small hepatic metastases (≤1.5 cm).Materials and Methods:Institutional review board approved this retrospective study and waived informed patient consent. Eighty-six patients with 179 liver metastases underwent liver MRI including unenhanced and gadoxetic acid-enhanced imaging and DWI at 3.0 T. Three image sets including unenhanced images—gadoxetic acid set (early dynamic and hepatocyte phase), DWI set, and the combined set—were analyzed independently and in consensus by 2 observers for detecting liver metastases using receiver operating characteristic analysis.Results:There was a tendency toward an increased diagnostic accuracy for the combined set (mean, 0.965) compared with that for each image set alone (mean, 0.911 for gadoxetic acid set; 0.926 for DWI set). The combined set showed better sensitivity (mean, 97.47%/95.0%: values on per-lesion/per-patient basis) than each imaging set alone (mean, 90.7%/83.7% for gadoxetic acid set; 91.6%/83.0% for DWI set) (P < 0.05) on both per-lesion basis and per-patient basis. All image sets showed similar positive predictive values.Conclusions:The combination of gadoxetic acid-enhanced MRI and DWI yielded better diagnostic accuracy and sensitivity in the detection of small liver metastasis than each magnetic resonance scan sequence alone.

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