Purpose: To retrospectively compare, in a multiobserver study, double-contrast-material (sequential administration of ferucarbotran and gadobutrol) magnetic resonance (MR) imaging with single-contrast-material ferucarbotran-enhanced and dynamic postferucarbotran gadobutrol-enhanced MR imaging for the detection and characterization of benign and malignant focal liver lesions.
Materials and methods: This study was institutional review board approved, and the requirement for informed patient consent was waived. Eighty-nine patients with a total of 128 focal liver lesions underwent double-contrast liver MR imaging (nonenhanced, ferucarbotran-enhanced, and dynamic postferucarbotran gadobutrol-enhanced MR imaging performed during one session). Four readers independently reviewed the data sets during three reading sessions focused on focal liver lesion detection and characterization: In session 1, the nonenhanced and dynamic postferucarbotran gadobutrol-enhanced images obtained at double-contrast MR imaging were analyzed. In session 2, the nonenhanced and ferucarbotran-enhanced images were analyzed. In session 3, all MR images were analyzed together. The diagnostic performance of each MR technique and each reader was evaluated by using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis; differences between postferucarbotran gadobutrol-enhanced, ferucarbotran-enhanced, and double-contrast MR imaging were assessed at Wilcoxon signed rank testing; and interreader agreement was assessed at Cohen kappa analysis. Histopathologic confirmation or an unchanged clinical course or MR finding was the reference standard.
Results: The four readers' detection of the benign and malignant lesions was not significantly different (P > or = .11) between the three MR techniques. The benign and malignant focal liver lesions were differentiated with significantly higher confidence (P < or = .01) on the double-contrast (area under ROC curve [A(z)] = 0.988) and ferucarbotran-enhanced (A(z) = 0.985) MR images than on the dynamic gadobutrol-enhanced images (A(z) = 0.963). Accuracy in the diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was highest (P = .02) and confidence in the final diagnosis of HCC (P = .001) or metastasis (P = .049) was significantly higher with double-contrast imaging.
Conclusion: In select cases, double-contrast MR imaging can improve diagnostic accuracy and increase confidence in characterizing focal liver lesions as HCC or metastasis.