Computed tomography textural analysis for the differentiation of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and diffuse large B cell lymphoma of Richter syndrome

C. P. Reinert, B. Federmann, J. Hofmann, H. Bösmüller, S. Wirths, J. Fritz, M. Horger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To test the hypothesis that both indolent and aggressive chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) can be differentiated from diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) of Richter syndrome (RS) by CT texture analysis (CTTA) of involved lymph nodes. Material and methods: We retrospectively included 52 patients with indolent CLL (26/52), aggressive CLL (8/52), and DLBCL of RS (18/52), who underwent standardized contrast-enhanced CT. In main lymphoma tissue, VOIs were generated from which CTTA features including first-, second-, and higher-order textural features were extracted. CTTA features were compared between the entire CLL group, the indolent CLL subtype, the aggressive CLL subtype, and DLBCL using a Kruskal-Wallis test. All p values were adjusted after the Bonferroni correction. ROC analyses for significant CTTA features were performed to determine cut-off values for differentiation between the groups. Results: Compared with DLBCL of RS, CTTA of the entire CLL group showed significant differences of entropy heterogeneity (p < 0.001), mean intensity (p < 0.001), mean average (p = 0.02), and number non-uniformity gray-level dependence matrix (NGLDM) (p = 0.03). Indolent CLL significantly differed for entropy (p < 0.001), uniformity of heterogeneity (p = 0.02), mean intensity (p < 0.001), and mean average (p = 0.01). Aggressive CLL showed significant differences in mean intensity (p = 0.04). For differentiation between CLL and DLBCL of RS, cut-off values for mean intensity and entropy of heterogeneity were defined (e.g., 6.63 for entropy heterogeneity [aggressive CLL vs. DLBCL]; sensitivity 0.78; specificity 0.63). Conclusions: CTTA features of ultrastructure and vascularization significantly differ in CLL compared with that in DLBCL of Richter syndrome, allowing complementary to visual features for noninvasive differentiation by contrast-enhanced CT. Key Points: • Richter transformation of CLL into DLBCL results in structural changes in lymph node architecture and vascularization that can be detected by CTTA. • First-order CT textural features including intensity and heterogeneity significantly differ between both indolent CLL and aggressive CLL and DLBCL of Richter syndrome. •CT texture analysis allows for noninvasive detection of Richter syndrome which is of prognostic value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6911-6921
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean radiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Leukemia, lymphocytic, chronic, B cell
  • Lymphoma, large B cell, diffuse
  • Texture analysis
  • Tomography, X-ray-computed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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