There is substantial variation in the radiologic terms used to characterize renal masses, leading to ambiguity and inconsistency in clinical radiology reports and research studies. The purpose of this study was to develop a standardized lexicon to describe renal masses at CT and MRI.
This multi-institutional, prospective, quality improvement project was exempt from IRB oversight. Thirteen radiologists belonging to the Society of Abdominal Radiology (SAR) disease-focused panel on renal cell carcinoma representing nine academic institutions participated in a modified Delphi process to create a lexicon of terms used to describe imaging features of renal masses at CT and MRI. In the first round, members voted on terms to be included and proposed definitions; subsequent voting rounds and a teleconference established consensus. One non-voting member developed the questionnaire and consolidated responses. Consensus was defined as ≥ 80% agreement.
Of 37 proposed terms, 6 had consensus to be excluded. Consensus for inclusion was reached for 30 of 31 terms (13/14 basic imaging terms, 8/8 CT terms, 6/6 MRI terms and 3/3 miscellaneous terms). Despite substantial initial disagreement about definitions of ‘renal mass,’ ‘necrosis,’ ‘fat,’ and ‘restricted diffusion’ in the first round, consensus for all was eventually reached. Disagreement remained for the definition of ‘solid mass.’
A modified Delphi method produced a lexicon of preferred terms and definitions to be used in the description of renal masses at CT and MRI. This lexicon should improve clarity and consistency of radiology reports and research related to renal masses.