Potential of a Non-Contrast-Enhanced Abbreviated MRI Screening Protocol (NC-AMRI) in High-Risk Patients under Surveillance for HCC

François Willemssen*, Quido de Lussanet de la Sablonière, Daniel Bos, Jan IJzermans, Robert De Man, Roy Dwarkasing

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Purpose: To evaluate NC-AMRI for the detection of HCC in high-risk patients. Methods: Patients who underwent yearly contrast-enhanced MRI (i.e., full MRI protocol) of the liver were included retrospectively. For all patients, the sequences that constitute the NC-AMRI protocol, namely diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), T2-weighted (T2W) imaging with fat saturation, and T1-weighted (T1W) in-phase and opposed-phase imaging, were extracted, anonymized, and uploaded to a separate research server and reviewed independently by three radiologists with different levels of experience. Reader I and III held a mutual training session. Levels of suspicion of HCC per patient were compared and the sensitivity, specificity, and area under the curve (AUC) using the Mann–Whitney U test were calculated. The reference standard was a final diagnosis based on full liver MRI and clinical follow-up information. Results: Two-hundred-and-fifteen patients were included, 36 (16.7%) had HCC and 179 (83.3%) did not. The level of agreement between readers was reasonable to good and concordant with the level of expertise and participation in a mutual training session. Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) analysis showed relatively high AUC values (range 0.89–0.94). Double reading showed increased sensitivity of 97.2% and specificity of 87.2% compared with individual results (sensitivity 80.1%–91.7%–97.2%; specificity 91.1%–72.1%–82.1%). Only one HCC (2.8%) was missed by all readers. Conclusion: NC-AMRI presents a good potential surveillance imaging tool for the detection of HCC in high-risk patients. The best results are achieved with two observers after a mutual training session.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3961
JournalCancers
Volume14
Issue number16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2022

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