Middle ear cholesteatoma: non-echo-planar diffusion-weighted MR imaging versus delayed gadolinium-enhanced T1-weighted MR imaging--value in detection

Radiology. 2010 Jun;255(3):866-72. doi: 10.1148/radiol.10091140.


Purpose: To retrospectively compare non-echo-planar (non-EP) diffusion-weighted (DW) imaging, delayed gadolinium-enhanced T1-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, and the combination of both techniques in the evaluation of patients with cholesteatoma.

Materials and methods: This institutional review board-approved study, for which the need to obtain informed consent was waived, included 57 patients clinically suspected of having a middle ear cholesteatoma without a history of surgery and 63 patients imaged before "second-look" surgery. Four blinded radiologists evaluated three sets of MR images: a set of delayed gadolinium-enhanced T1-weighted images, a set of non-EP DW images, and a set of both kinds of images. Overall sensitivity, specificity, negative predictive value (NPV), and positive predictive value (PPV), as well as intra- and interobserver agreement, were assessed and compared among methods. To correct for the correlation between different readings, a generalized estimating equations logistic regression model was fitted. Results were compared with surgical results, which were regarded as the standard of reference.

Results: Sensitivity, specificity, NPV, and PPV were significantly different between the three methods (P < .005). Sensitivity and specificity, respectively, were 56.7% and 67.6% with the delayed gadolinium-enhanced T1-weighted images and 82.6% and 87.2% with the non-EP DW images. Sensitivity for the combination of both kinds of images was 84.2%, while specificity was 88.2%. The overall PPV was 88.0% for delayed gadolinium-enhanced T1-weighted images, 96.0% for non-EP DW images, and 96.3%for the combination of both kinds of images. The overall NPV was 27.0% for delayed gadolinium-enhanced T1-weighted images, 56.5% for non-EP DW images, and 59.6% for the combination of both kinds of images.

Conclusion: MR imaging for detection of middle ear cholesteatoma can be performed by using non-EP DW imaging sequences alone. Use of the non-EP DW imaging sequence combined with a delayed gadolinium-enhanced T1-weighted sequence yielded no significant increases in sensitivity, specificity, NPV, or PPV over the use of the non-EP DW imaging sequence alone.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Cholesteatoma, Middle Ear / diagnosis*
  • Contrast Media
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Female
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Meglumine
  • Middle Aged
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Contrast Media
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Meglumine
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • gadoterate meglumine