News | February 02, 2010

Contrast Added to MR Better Detects Lymph Node Metastases

February 2, 2010 – When doctors added contrast agent gadolinium during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) they improved primary tumor assessment for detecting lymph node metastases, according to a new study published online February 1, 2010, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Gadolinium-enhanced MRI is primarily used to visualize primary tumors, highlight tumor vascularity, and increasingly to detect and evaluate lymph node metastases. Based on their findings the authors recommend that contrast highlighting be included as a malignancy criterion when this agent is used for primary tumor visualization.

Wenche M. Klerkx, M.D., Ph.D., department of gynecology and obstetrics, University Medical Centre Utrecht, the Netherlands, and colleagues searched the literature for studies that compared the diagnostic accuracy of gadolinium-enhanced MRI for staging lymph node metastases with that of histopathologic examination. The researchers conducted a meta-analysis on more than 30 studies from the last 10 years and reported summary sensitivity and specificity of MRI for detecting nodal metastases.

The overall accuracy of gadolinium-enhanced MRI for the detection of nodal metastases was moderate, wrote the authors in their conclusion. They also concluded that incorporating contrast enhancement in the malignancy criteria improves the accuracy of this diagnostic test.

For more information: jnci.oxfordjournals.org

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