Objective: The role of multiplanar image reconstruction (MPR) in staging lung cancer was investigated using multislice helical computed tomography (CT), which allows high-quality volumetric imaging.
Methods: Forty-one consecutive patients with lung cancer (mean age = 71 years) underwent multislice CT of the thorax. The scans were acquired using contiguous 4-mm x 2.5-mm slices from the lung apex to the diaphragm in a single breath hold after injection of 100 mL intravenous contrast media. Contiguous axial, coronal, and sagittal images (5-mm slice thickness) were reconstructed in the lung and mediastinal windows. The axial images with and without multiplanar reformatted images were reviewed on a workstation on 2 separate occasions (a minimum of 6 weeks apart) by 2 experienced chest radiologists. The films were assessed for features relating to the primary lesion (size; location; and invasion of the chest wall, mediastinum, diaphragm, and/or fissures) and secondary features (mediastinal lymphadenopathy and lung metastases). The diagnostic confidence of each feature was expressed on a 4-point scale.
Results: A significant increase in confidence was seen on the part of both observers when diagnosing features relating to the primary lesion. The mean confidence score increased from 1.68 to 2.08 (P = 0.038) for observer A and from 1.50 to 1.80 (P = 0.020) for observer B. Confidence in assessing invasion of fissures was increased from 1.70 to 2.30 (P = 0.022) for observer A and from 1.67 to 2.27 (P = 0.006) for observer B. Improvement in interobserver agreement (kappa-value from 0.61 to 0.75) was observed with multiplanar reconstruction (MPR) in the assessment of tumor location. No statistical difference was demonstrated in the diagnosis of mediastinal lymphadenopathy or lung secondaries.
Conclusion: Multiplanar imaging of the thorax is a useful supplementary tool in the staging of lung cancer, particularly in delineating the relation of the primary lesion to fissures and the diaphragm.