Initial staging of a right maxillary squamous cell carcinoma in an 84-year-old woman. A, Axial T1-weighted spin-echo (SE) sequence. B, Axial T1-weighted fat-saturated sequence. C, Fusion between axial T1WSE sequence. C, 3D T1-weighted fat-saturated SE postcontrast sequence, axial plane. D, Fusion between axial T1-weighted SE sequence and 18F-FDG-PET. Both T1-weighted FDG-PET/MR imaging with and without gadolinium showed right hard palate invasion. The anterior tumor margin (arrow) was difficult to define on both contrast-free and postcontrast T1WI (B and D). PET imaging allowed clarification of the lesion margins (A and C).

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.


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.

Read this article: https://bit.ly/3oqeIQm


Jeffrey Ross

• Mayo Clinic, Phoenix

Dr. Jeffrey S. Ross is a Professor of Radiology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, and practices neuroradiology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. His publications include over 100 peer-reviewed articles, nearly 60 non-refereed articles, 33 book chapters, and 10 books. He was an AJNR Senior Editor from 2006-2015, is a member of the editorial board for 3 other journals, and a manuscript reviewer for 10 journals. He became Editor-in-Chief of the AJNR in July 2015. He received the Gold Medal Award from the ASSR in 2013.

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