The value of a rapid contrast-enhanced angio-MRI protocol in the detection of head and neck paragangliomas in SDHx mutations carriers: a retrospective study on behalf of the PGL.EVA investigators

Eur Radiol. 2016 Jun;26(6):1696-704. doi: 10.1007/s00330-015-4024-5. Epub 2015 Oct 1.


Objectives: To assess the performance of a simplified MRI protocol consisting of a contrast-enhanced three-dimensional MR angiography (CE-MRA) in association with a post-contrast T1-weighted sequence (T1WIV) for the detection of HNPGLs in SDHx mutation carriers.

Methods: This retrospective sub-study is based on the multicenter PGL.EVA cohort, which prospectively enrolled SDHx mutation carriers from 2005 to 2009; 157 index cases or relatives were included. CE-MRA and the T1WIV images were read solely with knowledge of the clinical data but blind to the diagnosis. Sensitivity, specificity and likelihood ratios for the simplified MRI protocol were compared to the full MRI protocol reading results and to the gold standard status obtained through the consensus of an expert committee.

Results: The sensitivity and specificity of the readings of the simplified MRI protocol were, respectively, 88.7 % (95 % CI = 78.1-95.3) and 93.7 % (95 % CI = 86.8-97.7) versus 80.7 % (95 % CI = 68.6-89.6) and 94.7 % (95 % CI = 88.1-98.3) for the readings of the full MRI protocol.

Conclusions: The simplified post-contrast MRI with shorter duration (5 to 10 minutes) showed no performance difference compared to the lengthy standard full MRI and can be proposed for the detection of head and neck paragangliomas (HNPGLs) in SDHx mutation carriers.

Key points: • Rapid angio-MRI protocol and the usual lengthy protocol show equal diagnostic performance. • The CE-MRA is the key sequence for the detection of HNPGLs. • The T1WIV sequence assists in localizing HNPGLs.

Keywords: Head and neck; Magnetic resonance angiography; Paraganglioma; SDH; Screening.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / genetics
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Paraganglioma / diagnosis*
  • Paraganglioma / genetics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity