Objectives: To investigate the added value of fusion of high b-value diffusion-weighted images (DWI) and T2-weighted (T2) MR images for the detection of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNT).
Methods: 18 patients with 18 histologically proven PNT were included. Two radiologists independently and retrospectively reviewed four randomized images sets (T2+T1, DWI, T2+DWI, and DWI+T2 fusion). Lesion detection confidence level was assessed using a three grade score (no lesion; uncertain lesion and certain lesion); lesion size and signal intensity were recorded. Apparent diffusion coefficients (ADC) of tumor and adjacent pancreas were measured.
Results: Readers 1 and 2 respectively detected 14/18 and 16/18 lesions on T2+T1, 13/18 and 12/18 on DWI, 16/18 and 15/18 on T2+DWI and 17/18 and 16/18 on DWI+T2 fusion. Lesion median size was 16 mm (range: 7 mm-40 mm), 22% were hyperfunctioning (all insulinomas) and 72% were low-grade (Rindi 1). All tumors except one (with cystic component) showed lower ADC than adjacent pancreatic parenchyma. Fusion imaging had significantly better detection score by both authors (p<0.005) and provided the higher inter-reader agreement (kappa 0.7). DWI alone had the worst score for both readers.
Conclusions: Fusion images improve the detection of PNT, especially in patients with small isointense lesions on conventional MR sequences.
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