BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
PET/MRI with 18F-FDG has demonstrated the advantages of simultaneous PET and MR imaging in head and neck cancer imaging, MRI allowing excellent soft-tissue contrast, while PET provides metabolic information. The aim of this study was to evaluate the added value of gadolinium contrast–enhanced sequences in the tumor delineation of head and neck cancers on 18F-FDG-PET/MR imaging.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Consecutive patients who underwent simultaneous head and neck 18F-FDG-PET/MR imaging staging or restaging followed by surgery were retrospectively included. Local tumor invasion and lymph node extension were assessed in 45 head and neck anatomic regions using 18F-FDG-PET/MR imaging by 2 rater groups (each one including a radiologist and a nuclear medicine physician). Two reading sessions were performed, one without contrast-enhanced sequences (using only T1WI, T2WI, and PET images) and a second with additional T1WI postcontrast sequences. The results were compared with the detailed histopathologic analysis, used as reference standard. The κ concordance coefficient between the reading sessions and sensitivity and specificity for each region were calculated.
Thirty patients were included. There was excellent agreement between the contrast-free and postgadolinium reading sessions in delineating precise tumor extension in the 45 anatomic regions studied (Cohen κ = 0.96, 95% CI = [0.94–0.97], P < .001). The diagnostic accuracy did not differ between contrast-free and postgadolinium reading sessions, being 0.97 for both groups and both reading sessions. For the 2 rater groups, there was good sensitivity for both contrast-free (0.83 and 0.85) and postgadolinium reading sessions (0.88 and 0.90, respectively). Moreover, there was excellent specificity (0.98) for both groups and reading sessions.
Gadolinium chelate contrast administration showed no added value for accurate characterization of head and neck primary tumor extension and could possibly be avoided in the PET/MR imaging head and neck workflow.
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