Article Abstract

Conventional MRI to detect the differences between mass-like tuberculosis and lung cancer

Authors: Li-Ping Qi, Ke-Neng Chen, Xiaohong Joe Zhou, Lei Tang, Yu-Liang Liu, Xiao-Ting Li, Juan Wang, Ying-Shi Sun

Abstract

Background: The aim of this study was to investigate differences in the imaging features of mass-like tuberculosis and lung cancer on conventional MR sequences to improve the diagnostic ability for pulmonary masses.
Methods: Thirty patients with suspicious pulmonary lesions were enrolled and diagnosed with tuberculosis by pathology or comprehensive clinical diagnoses. Twenty-six cases of lung cancer were retrospectively analyzed. Transverse fat-suppressed T2-weighted (T2W) imaging and T1-weighted (T1W) imaging were obtained at 1.5 Tesla. The imaging characteristics of lesions on the T2W and T1W images were compared between the two groups. The imaging features of enlarged mediastinal lymph nodes on T2W images were studied and compared.
Results: On T2W images, there was a higher percentage of lesions containing hypointensity in the tuberculosis group (GTB) than in the lung cancer group (GLC) (P=0.004).The incidence of lesions demonstrating heterogeneous intensity was significantly greater in the GTB than in the GLC (70.0% vs. 7.7%, P=0.001). Approximately 92.3% of the lung cancer cases showed hyperintensity, a proportion substantially greater than that in the GTB (6.7%). On T1W images, more cases showed hyperintensity in the GTB than in the GLC (43.3% vs. 7.7%, P=0.003). The signal intensity ratios (SIRs) of the lesion to rhomboid muscle on T2W and T1W images were significantly different between the two groups. The mean intrasubject standard deviation (SD) of lesions in the GTB was markedly greater than that in the GLC on both T2W and T1W images. Benign mediastinal lymph nodes in the GTB showed a variety of signals on T2W images, whereas 80% of metastatic mediastinal lymph nodes displayed slight homogeneous hyperintensity, and this difference between the two groups was statistically significant.
Conclusions: Conventional MR sequences can reveal the essential differences between mass-like tuberculosis and lung cancer and may be helpful for discriminating pulmonary masses.