PloS one 2018 03 2913(3) e0193946 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0193946
After the emergence of new MRI techniques such as susceptibility- and diffusion-weighted imaging (SWI and DWI) and because of specific imaging characteristics of melanoma brain metastases (MBM), it is unclear which MRI sequences are most beneficial for detection of MBM. This study was performed to investigate the sensitivity of six clinical MRI sequences in the early detection of MBM.
Medical records of all melanoma patients referred to our center between November 2005 and December 2016 were reviewed for presence of MBM. Analysis encompassed six MRI sequences at the time of initial diagnosis of first or new MBM, including non-enhanced T1-weighted (T1w), contrast-enhanced T1w (ceT1w), T2-weighted (T2w), T2w-FLAIR, susceptibility-weighted (SWI) and diffusion-weighted (DWI) MRI. Each lesion was rated with respect to its conspicuity (score from 0-not detectable to 3-clearly visible).
Of 1210 patients, 217 with MBM were included in the analysis and up to 5 lesions per patient were evaluated. A total of 720 metastases were assessed and all six sequences were available for 425 MBM. Sensitivity (conspicuity ≥2) was 99.7% for ceT1w, 77.0% for FLAIR, 64.7% for SWI, 61.0% for T2w, 56.7% for T1w, and 48.4% for DWI. Thirty-one (7.3%) of 425 lesions were only detectable by ceT1w but no other sequence.
Contrast-enhanced T1-weighting is more sensitive than all other sequences for detection of MBM. Disruption of the blood-brain-barrier is consistently an earlier sign in MBM than perifocal edema, signal loss on SWI or diffusion restriction.