BACKGROUND. Whole-body MRI and FDG PET/MRI have shown encouraging results for staging of thoracic malignancy but are poorly studied for staging of small cell lung cancer (SCLC). OBJECTIVE. The purpose of our study was to compare the performance of conventional staging tests, FDG PET/CT, whole-body MRI, and FDG PET/MRI for staging of SCLC. METHODS. This prospective study included 98 patients (64 men, 34 women; median age, 74 years) with SCLC who underwent conventional staging tests (brain MRI; neck, chest, and abdominopelvic CT; and bone scintigraphy), FDG PET/CT, and whole-body MRI within 2 weeks before treatment; coregistered FDG PET/MRI was generated. Two nuclear medicine physicians independently reviewed conventional tests and FDG PET/CT examinations in separate sessions, and two chest radiologists independently reviewed whole-body MRI and FDG PET/MRI examinations in separate sessions. Readers assessed T, N, and M categories; TNM stage; and Veterans Administration Lung Cancer Study Group (VALSG) stage. Reader pairs subsequently reached consensus. Stages determined clinically during tumor board sessions served as the reference standard. RESULTS. Accuracy for T category was higher (p < .05) for whole-body MRI (94.9%) and FDG PET/MRI (94.9%) than for FDG PET/CT (85.7%). Accuracy for N category was higher (p < .05) for whole-body MRI (84.7%), FDG PET/MRI (83.7%), and FDG PET/CT (81.6%) than for conventional staging tests (75.5%). Accuracy for M category was higher (p < .05) for whole-body MRI (94.9%), FDG PET/MRI (94.9%), and FDG PET/CT (94.9%) than for conventional staging tests (84.7%). Accuracy for TNM stage was higher (p < .05) for whole-body MRI (88.8%) and FDG PET/MRI (86.7%) than for FDG PET/CT (77.6%) and conventional staging tests (72.4%). Accuracy for VALSG stage was higher (p < .05) for whole-body MRI (95.9%), FDG PET/MRI (95.9%), and FDG PET/CT (98.0%) than for conventional staging tests (82.7%). Interobserver agreement, expressed as kappa coefficients, ranged from 0.81 to 0.94 across imaging tests and staging endpoints. CONCLUSION. FDG PET/CT, whole-body MRI, and coregistered FDG PET/MRI outperformed conventional tests for various staging endpoints in patients with SCLC. Whole-body MRI and FDG PET/MRI outperformed FDG PET/CT for T category and thus TNM stage, indicating the utility of MRI for assessing extent of local invasion in SCLC. CLINICAL IMPACT. Incorporation of either MRI approach may improve initial staging evaluation in SCLC.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging