Diagnostic interpretation of non-contrast qualitative MR imaging features for characterisation of uterine leiomyosarcoma

Br J Radiol. 2021 Sep 1;94(1125):20210115. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20210115. Epub 2021 Jun 16.


Objective: To assess the value of non-contrast MRI features for characterisation of uterine leiomyosarcoma (LMS) and differentiation from atypical benign leiomyomas.

Methods: This study included 57 atypical leiomyomas and 16 LMS which were referred pre-operatively for management review to the specialist gynaeoncology multidisciplinary team meeting. Non-contrast MRIs were retrospectively reviewed by five independent readers (three senior, two junior) and a 5-level Likert score (1-low/5-high) was assigned to each mass for likelihood of LMS. Evaluation of qualitative and quantitative MRI features was done using uni- and multivariable regression analysis. Inter-reader reliability for the assessment of MRI features was calculated by using Cohen's κ values.

Results: In the univariate analysis, interruption of the endometrial interface and irregular tumour shape had the highest odds ratios (ORs) (64.00, p < 0.001 and 12.00, p = 0.002, respectively) for prediction of LMS. Likert score of the mass was significant in prediction (OR, 3.14; p < 0.001) with excellent reliability between readers (ICC 0.86; 95% CI, 0.76-0.92). The post-menopausal status, interruption of endometrial interface and thickened endometrial stripe were the most predictive independent variables in multivariable estimation of the risk of leiomyosarcoma with an accuracy of 0.88 (95%CI, 0.78-0.94).

Conclusion: At any level of expertise as a radiologist reader, the loss of the normal endometrial stripe (either thickened or not seen) in a post-menopausal patient with a myometrial mass was highly likely to be LMS.

Advances in knowledge: This study demonstrates the potential utility of non-contrast MRI features in characterisation of LMS over atypical leiomyomas, and therefore influence on optimal management of these cases.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Leiomyosarcoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Uterine Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Uterus / diagnostic imaging