Article Abstract

Assessment of thoracic vasculature in patients with central bronchogenic carcinoma by unenhanced magnetic resonance angiography: comparison between 2D free-breathing TrueFISP, 2D breath-hold TrueFISP and 3D respiratory-triggered SPACE

Authors: Lili Wang, Peng Lv, Shuohui Yang, Mengsu Zeng, Jiang Lin


Background: Preoperative assessment of the integrity of major thoracic vessels in central bronchogenic carcinoma is vital for tumor staging and treatment planning. Contrast-enhanced CT is currently the first choice of modality for this purpose in clinical practice with limitations including exposure to ionizing radiation and the use of iodinated contrast material. MRI has been increasingly employed for the staging of lung cancer. More recently, unenhanced magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) which is totally non-invasive and contrast-free has been reported able to show thoracic vessels. This study was to compare image qualities of three unenhanced-MRAs and to evaluate accuracy of them in assessing thoracic vessel invasion by using contrast-enhanced CT as a reference standard.
Methods: A total of 30 patients with central bronchogenic carcinoma confirmed by pathology were examined by CT and unenhanced MRA including 2D free-breathing (FB)-TrueFISP, breath-holding (BH)-TrueFISP and 3D respiratory-triggered (RT)-SPACE. Image qualities of pulmonary arteries and veins, thoracic aorta and vena cava were scored for each MRA sequence. Vessel to lung tissue signal contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR), vessel to tumor signal contrast ratio (VTR), and tumor to background signal contrast ratio (TBR) were calculated. On each method, vessel invasion was evaluated according to types of morphological relationships between the tumor and major vessels.
Results: The three MRAs showed no significant difference in CNR (P=0.518) while TrueFISP MRAs were better than SPACE in terms of VTR (P=0.000) and image quality (P=0.002). Excellent consistency with CT was found for all three MRAs in assessment of the morphological relationships between tumors and major vessels (FB-TrueFISP: kappa =0.821; BH-TrueFISP: kappa =0.862; RT-SPACE: kappa =0.811).
Conclusions: Both TrueFISP and SPACE allow satisfactory visualization of major mediastinal and hilar vessels and are comparable to MDCT in assessment of vessel invasion in patients with central lung cancer. TrueFISP sequences are better than SPACE in regard to image quality and VTR.