Accuracy of imaging methods for detection of bone tissue invasion in patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma

Dentomaxillofac Radiol. 2013;42(6):20120346. doi: 10.1259/dmfr.20120346. Epub 2013 Feb 18.


The objective of this review is to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of imaging methods for detection of mandibular bone tissue invasion by squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). A systematic review was carried out of studies in MEDLINE, SciELO and Science Direct, published between 1960 and 2012, in English, Spanish or German, which compared detection of mandibular bone tissue invasion via different imaging tests against a histopathology reference standard. Sensitivity and specificity data were extracted from each study. The outcome measure was diagnostic accuracy. We found 338 articles, of which 5 fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Tests included were: CT (four articles), MRI (four articles), panoramic radiography (one article), positron emission tomography (PET)/CT (one article) and cone beam CT (CBCT) (one article). The quality of articles was low to moderate and the evidence showed that all tests have a high diagnostic accuracy for detection of mandibular bone tissue invasion by SCC, with sensitivity values of 94% (MRI), 91% (CBCT), 83% (CT) and 55% (panoramic radiography), and specificity values of 100% (CT, MRI, CBCT), 97% (PET/CT) and 91.7% (panoramic radiography). Available evidence is scarce and of only low to moderate quality. However, it is consistently shown that current imaging methods give a moderate to high diagnostic accuracy for the detection of mandibular bone tissue invasion by SCC. Recommendations are given for improving the quality of future reports, in particular provision of a detailed description of the patients' conditions, the imaging instrument and both imaging and histopathological invasion criteria.

Keywords: carcinoma; diagnostic accuracy; neoplasm invasiveness; squamous cell; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mandibular Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Mandibular Neoplasms / pathology
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Sensitivity and Specificity