Background: Precisely defining the number and location of brain metastases is very important for establishing a treatment strategy for malignancies. Although magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is now considered the best modality, various improvements in sequences are still being made.
Purpose: To prospectively compare the diagnostic ability of three-dimensional, magnetization-prepared rapid gradient-echo (3D MP-RAGE) imaging in detecting metastatic brain tumors, with that of two-dimensional spin-echo (2D SE) T1-weighted imaging.
Material and methods: A total of 123 examinations were included in this study, and 119 examinations from 88 patients with known malignancies were analyzed. All patients underwent T1- and T2-weighted 2D SE transverse imaging, followed by gadolinium-enhanced T1-weighted transverse and coronal 2D SE imaging and 3D MP-RAGE transverse imaging. Four radiologists interpreted the images to compare the accuracy and the time required for interpretation for each imaging.
Results: 3D MP-RAGE imaging was significantly better than 2D SE imaging for detecting metastatic brain lesions, regardless of the readers' experience. The sensitivities of the 3D MP-RAGE and 2D SE imaging for all observers were 0.81 vs. 0.80 (P>0.05), specificities were 0.93 vs. 0.87 (P<0.05), positive predictive values were 0.92 vs. 0.86 (P<0.05), negative predictive values were 0.78 vs. 0.75 (P>0.05), and accuracies were 0.84 vs. 0.78 (P<0.05), respectively. There was no significant difference in the time required for image interpretation between the two modalities (15.6+/-4.0 vs. 15.4+/-4.1 min).
Conclusion: 3D MP-RAGE imaging proved superior to 2D SE imaging in the detection of brain metastases.