Indexed on: 16 Jan '09Published on: 16 Jan '09Published in: Magnetic Resonance Imaging
The aim of this study was to determine the adequate MR sequence for the lesion conspicuity of hepatocellular lesions with increased iron uptake on superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO)-enhanced MRI.SPIO-enhanced MRI was performed using a 1.5-T system. Among 25 patients with hypovascular hepatocellular nodules on contrast-enhanced dynamic CT (no early enhancement at arterial phase and hypoattenuation at equilibrium phase), 39 lesions with increased iron uptake on SPIO-enhanced MRI were evaluated. SPIO-enhanced MRI included (1) T1-weighted in-phase gradient recalled echo (GRE) images, (2) T2-weighted fast spin echo (FSE) images, (3) T2*-weighted GRE with moderate TE (7 ms) and (4) long TE (12 ms). The lesion-to-liver contrast-to-noise ratios of the hepatocellular nodule and the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the hepatic parenchyma were calculated by one radiologist for a quantitative assessment. MR images were reviewed retrospectively by two independent radiologists to compare the subjective lesion conspicuity in each image set based on a four-point rating scale.The mean lesion-to-liver contrast-to-noise ratios with T2*-weighted GRE with moderate TE (7 ms) was highest (5.79+/-3.71) and was significantly higher than those with T1-weighted, in-phase images (3.79+/-3.23, P<.01), T2-weighted images (2.72+/-1.52, P<.001) and T2*-weighted GRE with long TE (12 ms) (3.93+/-2.69, P<.05). The subjective rating of lesion conspicuity was best on the T2*-weighted GRE with moderate TE (7 ms), followed by that on the T2*-weighted GRE with moderate TE (7 ms; P<.05).T2*-weighted GRE sequence with moderate TE (7 ms) showed high lesion-to-liver contrast-to-noise ratios in hepatocellular lesions with increased iron uptake on SPIO-enhanced MRI, indicating better lesion conspicuity of hypointense hepatocellular nodules in cirrhosis or chronic hepatitis.