Published online Jul 28, 2012. doi: 10.4329/wjr.v4.i7.302
Revised: February 21, 2012
Accepted: March 1, 2012
Published online: July 28, 2012
AIM: To evaluate the role of diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) in the detection of focal liver lesions (FLLs), using a conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) protocol.
METHODS: Fifty-two patients (22 males, average age 55.6 years, range: 25-82 years), studied using a 1.5 Tesla magnetic resonance scanner, were retrospectively analyzed; detection of FLLs was evaluated by considering the number of lesions observed with the following sequences: (1) respiratory-triggered diffusion-weighted single-shot echo-planar (DW SS-EP) sequences; (2) fat-suppressed fast spin-echo (fs-FSE) T2 weighted sequences; (3) steady-state free precession (SSFP) images; and (4) dynamic triphasic gadolinium-enhanced images, acquired with three-dimensional fast spoiled gradient-echo (3D FSPGR). Two radiologists independently reviewed the images: they were blinded to their respective reports. DW SS-EP sequences were compared to fs-FSE, SSFP and dynamic gadolinium-enhanced acquisitions using a t-test. Pairs were compared for the detection of: (1) all FLLs; (2) benign FLLs; (3) malignant FLLs; (4) metastases; and (5) hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
RESULTS: Interobserver agreement was very good (weighted κ = 0.926, CI = 0.880-0.971); on the consensus reading, 277 FLLs were detected. In the comparison with fs-FSE, DW SS-EP sequences had a significantly higher score in the detection of all FLLs, benign FLLs, malignant FLLs and metastases; no statistical difference was observed in the detection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCCs). In the comparison with SSFP sequences, DW SS-EP had significantly higher scores (P < 0.05) in the detection of all lesions, benign lesions, malignant lesions, metastases and HCC. All FLLs were better detected by dynamic 3D FSGR enhanced acquisition, with P = 0.0023 for reader 1 and P = 0.0086 for reader 2 in the comparison with DW SS-EP sequences; with reference to benign FLLs, DW SS-EP showed lower values than 3D FSPGR enhanced acquisition (P < 0.05). No statistical differences were observed in the detection of malignant lesions and metastases; considering HCCs, a very slight difference was reported by reader 1 (P = 0.049), whereas no difference was found by reader 2 (P = 0.06).
CONCLUSION: In lesion detection, DWI had higher scores than T2 sequences; considering malignant FLLs, no statistical difference was observed between DWI and dynamic gadolinium images.