Purpose: To assess the relative accuracies of computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in the local staging of primary malignant bone and soft-tissue tumors.
Materials and methods: At four institutions, 367 eligible patients (aged 6-89 years) with malignant bone or soft-tissue neoplasms in selected anatomic sites were enrolled. Patients underwent both CT and MR imaging within 4 weeks before surgery. In each patient, CT scans were interpreted independently by two radiologists and MR images by two other radiologists at the enrolling institution. The CT and MR images were then interpreted together by two of those radiologists and subsequently reread at the other institutions. Imaging and histopathologic findings were compared and were supplemented when needed with surgical findings. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis and descriptive statistical analysis were performed.
Results: Cases were analyzable in 316 patients: 183 had primary bone tumors; 133 had primary soft-tissue tumors. There was no statistically significant difference between CT and MR imaging in determining tumor involvement of muscle, bone, joints, or neurovascular structures. The combined interpretation of CT and MR images did not statistically significantly improve accuracy. Interreader variability was similar for both modalities.
Conclusion: CT and MR imaging are equally accurate in the local staging of malignant bone and soft-tissue neoplasms in the specific anatomic sites studied.