Clinical indications and acquisition protocol for the use of dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI in head and neck cancer squamous cell carcinoma: recommendations from an expert panel

Insights Imaging. 2022 Dec 17;13(1):198. doi: 10.1186/s13244-022-01317-1.


Background: The clinical role of perfusion-weighted MRI (PWI) in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) remains to be defined. The aim of this study was to provide evidence-based recommendations for the use of PWI sequence in HNSCC with regard to clinical indications and acquisition parameters.

Methods: Public databases were searched, and selected papers evaluated applying the Oxford criteria 2011. A questionnaire was prepared including statements on clinical indications of PWI as well as its acquisition technique and submitted to selected panelists who worked in anonymity using a modified Delphi approach. Each panelist was asked to rate each statement using a 7-point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree). Statements with scores equal or inferior to 5 assigned by at least two panelists were revised and re-submitted for the subsequent Delphi round to reach a final consensus.

Results: Two Delphi rounds were conducted. The final questionnaire consisted of 6 statements on clinical indications of PWI and 9 statements on the acquisition technique of PWI. Four of 19 (21%) statements obtained scores equal or inferior to 5 by two panelists, all dealing with clinical indications. The Delphi process was considered concluded as reasons entered by panelists for lower scores were mainly related to the lack of robust evidence, so that no further modifications were suggested.

Conclusions: Evidence-based recommendations on the use of PWI have been provided by an independent panel of experts worldwide, encouraging a standardized use of PWI across university and research centers to produce more robust evidence.

Keywords: Evidence-based medicine; Magnetic resonance imaging; Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.