T2-weighted MR Imaging in the Assessment of Cirrhotic Liver

T2-weighted MR Imaging in the Assessment of Cirrhotic Liver


Hero K. Hussain, MD ; Ibrahim Syed, MD ; Hanh V. Nghiem, MD ; Timothy D. Johnson, PhD ; Ruth C. Carlos, MD, MS ; William J. Weadock, MD ; Isaac R. Francis, MD

PURPOSE: To assess if T2-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging provides added diagnostic value in combination with dynamic gadolinium-enhanced MR imaging in the detection and characterization of nodular lesions in cirrhotic liver.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Two readers retrospectively and independently analyzed 54 MR imaging studies in 52 patients with cirrhosis. In session 1, readers reviewed T1-weighted and dynamic gadolinium-enhanced images. In session 2, readers reviewed T1-weighted, dynamic gadolinium-enhanced, and respiratory-triggered T2-weighted fast spin-echo images. Readers identified and characterized all focal lesions by using a scale of 1–4 (1, definitely benign; 4, definitely malignant). Multireader correlated receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was employed to assess radiologist performance in session 2 compared with session 1. The difference in the areas under the ROC curves for the two sessions was tested. In a third session, readers assessed conspicuity of biopsy-proved lesions on T2-weighted MR images by using a scale of 1–3 (1, not seen; 3, well seen) and identified causes of reduced conspicuity.

RESULTS: Two additional benign lesions were detected by each reader in session 2. Fifty-five lesions had pathologic verification, including 32 malignant, three high-grade dysplastic, and 20 benign nodules. There was no significant difference in the area under the ROC curves between the two sessions (P = .48). Thirty-two lesions were inconspicuous on T2-weighted MR images because of parenchymal heterogeneity, breathing artifacts (particularly in patients with ascites), and lesion isointensity with liver parenchyma. T2-weighted MR imaging was useful in the evaluation of cysts and lymph nodes.

CONCLUSION: T2-weighted MR imaging does not provide added diagnostic value in the detection and characterization of focal lesions in cirrhotic liver.