Evaluation of solitary pulmonary nodules with dynamic contrast-enhanced MR imaging-a promising technique?

Karl Hittmair, Franz Eckersberger, Walter Klepetko, Thomas Helbich, Christian J. Herold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The evaluation of a solitary pulmonary nodule (SPN) is one of the most frequently encountered challenges in thoracic radiology. In addition to a "state-of-the-art" evaluation of SPNs with CT and biopsy techniques, recently the assessment of the enhancement characteristics with iodinized contrast agents has shown its potential to improve the characterization of SPNs. We investigated whether dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI is suitable to assess the degree and kinetics of MR contrast enhancement and whether this technique could help in the noninvasive specification of SPNs. We studied prospectively 21 patients with SPNs. T1-weighted and proton density-weighted spoiled gradient-echo breath-hold images (2D-FLASH) were obtained before and after the administration of Gd-DTPA in a standard dosage of 0.1 mmol/kg body weight. The maximum enhancement and the initial velocity of contrast uptake were assessed and correlated with pathohistological findings. To quantify contrast enhancement, we used the relative signal intensity increase (Srel) and the recently introduced enhancement factor (EF) and contrast uptake equivalent (CE). Dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI proved to be well suited for the assessment of the contrast enhancement characteristics of SPNs. Significant differences were found in the degree and kinetics of contrast enhancement for specific types of nodules. Malignant neoplastic SPNs enhanced stronger and faster than benign neoplastic SPNs. The strongest and fastest enhancement, however, was found in a benign type of nodules where histology revealed inflammatory/fibrous lesions. These differences in contrast enhancement between the different pathohistological groups were more significant when EF and CE rather than Srel was used for the quantification of contrast enhancement. The results of this study indicate a potential role for dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI in the preoperative noninvasive evaluation of SPNs using EF and CE as contrast uptake assessment parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)923-933
Number of pages11
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1995


  • Contrast enhancement
  • Noninvasive characterization
  • Solitary pulmonary nodules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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