Virtual Non-Contrast Spectral CT in Renal Masses: Is It Time to Discard Conventional Unenhanced Phase?

Giuseppe M. Bucolo*, Velio Ascenti, Simone Barbera, Federico Fontana, Francesco M. Aricò, Filippo Piacentino, Andrea Coppola, Giuseppe Cicero, Maria Adele Marino, Christian Booz, Thomas J. Vogl, Tommaso D’Angelo, Massimo Venturini, Giorgio Ascenti

*Corresponding author for this work

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Dual-layer Dual-Energy CT (dl-DECT) allows one to create virtual non-contrast (VNC) reconstructions from contrast-enhanced CT scans, with a consequent decrease of the radiation dose. This study aims to assess the reliability of VNC for the diagnostic evaluation of renal masses in comparison with true non-contrast (TNC) images. The study cohort included 100 renal masses in 40 patients who underwent dl-DECT between June and December 2021. Attenuation values and standard deviations were assessed through the drawing of regions of interest on TNC and VNC images reconstructed from corticomedullary and nephrographic phases. A Wilcoxon signed-rank test was performed in order to assess equivalence of data and Spearman’s Rho correlation coefficient to evaluate correlations between each parameter. The diagnostic accuracy of VNC was estimated through the performance of receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis. Differences between attenuation values were, respectively, 74%, 18%, 5% and 3% (TNC-VNCcort), and 74%, 15%, 9% and 2% (TNC-VNCneph). The Wilcoxon signed-rank test demonstrated the equivalence of attenuation values between the TNC and VNC images. The diagnostic performance of VNC images in the depiction of kidney simple cysts remains high compared to TNC (VNCcort-AUC: 0.896; VNCneph-AUC: 0.901, TNC-AUC: 0.903). In conclusion, quantitative analysis of attenuation values showed a strong agreement between VNC and TNC images in the evaluation of renal masses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4718
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2023

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