A prospective analysis of the diagnostic accuracy of 3 T MRI, CT and endoscopic ultrasound for preoperative T staging of potentially resectable esophageal cancer

Jia Guo, Zhaoqi Wang, Jianjun Qin, Hongkai Zhang, Wentao Liu, Yan Zhao, Yanan Lu, Xu Yan, Zhongxian Zhang, Ting Zhang, Shouning Zhang, Nickel Marcel Dominik, Ihab R. Kamel, Hailiang Li, Jinrong Qu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Patients with esophageal cancer (EC) undergo endoscopic ultrasound and CT based cancer staging. Recent technical developments allow improved MRI quality with diminished motion artifact that may allow MRI to compare favorable to CT for noninvasive staging. Hence the purpose of the study was to assess image quality and diagnostic accuracy of 3 T MRI versus CT and EUS for preoperative T-staging of potentially resectable esophageal cancer. Methods: Between October-2014 and December-2017, esophageal cancer patients with T-staging by EUS were enrolled in this prospective study. Post-operative histopathologic T-staging was the reference standard. All participants underwent MRI [T2-multi-shot turbo spin echo sequence (msTSE), diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), and 3D gradient-echo based sequence (3D-GRE)] and CT [non-contrast and multiphase contrast-enhanced CT scanning] 5.6 + 3.6 days after endoscopy. Surgery was performed within 3.6 + 3.5 days after imaging. Two blinded endoscopists (reader 1 and 2) and radiologists (reader 3 and 4) independently evaluated EUS and CT/MRI, respectively. Considering the clinical relevance, patients were dichotomized into early (T1 and T2) vs late (T3 and T4) stage cancer before assessment. For statistical purpose, the binary decision was defined as the ability of the imaging technique to diagnose early stage/not early stage esophageal cancer. Diagnostic performance of EUS, MRI and CT was compared using McNemar's test with Bonferroni correction; kappa values were assessed for reader performance. Results: 74 study participants (60 ± 8 yrs.; 56 men) with esophageal cancer were evaluated, of whom 85%(63/74) had squamous cell carcinoma, 61%(45/74) were at early stage and 39%(29/74) were at late stage cancer, as determined by histopathology. Intra-A nd Inter-reader agreement for pre-operative vs post-operative T-staging was excellent for all imaging modalities. Compared to CT, MRI showed significantly higher accuracy for both the readers (reader3: 96% vs 82%, p = 0.0038, reader4: 95% vs 80%, p = 0.0076, for MRI vs CT, respectively). Further, MRI outperformed EUS with higher specificity (reader 1 vs 3: 59% vs 93%, p = 0.0015, reader 2 vs 4: 66% vs 93%, p = 0.0081, for EUS vs MRI respectively), and accuracy (reader 1 vs 3: 81% vs 96%, p = 0.0022, reader 2 vs 4: 85% vs 95%, p = 0.057, for EUS vs MRI, respectively). Conclusion: For resectable esophageal cancer, MRI had better diagnostic performance for tumor staging compared to CT and EUS. Trial registration: ChiCTR, ChiCTR-DOD, Registered 2nd October 2014, http://www.chictr.org.cn/showproj.aspx?proj=9620

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number64
JournalCancer Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 10 2020


  • Computer tomography
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Tumor staging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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