MR imaging for predicting neoplastic invasion of the cervical esophagus

S. Roychowdhury, L. A. Loevner, D. M. Yousem, A. Chalian, K. T. Montone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Esophageal invasion (EI) by head and neck neoplasm has important prognostic and surgical management implications. Our purpose was to determine the accuracy of MR imaging for predicting neoplastic cervical esophageal invasion. METHODS: MR scans of the neck obtained from 22 patients with periesophageal masses were retrospectively reviewed independently and by consensus by two experienced head and neck radiologists who were unaware of surgical findings. The patients were selected from clinical, radiologic, or pathologic reports suggesting EI. The following imaging criteria for EI were evaluated: effacement of periesophageal fat planes, circumferential mass, paraesophageal lymph nodes, luminal size, wall thickening, increased T2 wall signal, and wall enhancement. There were eight patients with EI and 14 patients without EI, as confirmed by surgical findings or pathologic examination. RESULTS: The consensus criteria with the best sensitivities were any wall thickening (100%), effaced fat plane (100%), and any T2 wall signal abnormality (100%). The criteria with the best specificities were circumferential mass greater than 270 (100%) or 180 degrees (93%) and focal T2 wall signal abnormality (86%). The overall kappa value for the two readers for all criteria was 0.57 (moderate agreement). CONCLUSION: A circumferential mass or focal T2 signal abnormality on the esophageal wall suggests the presence of EI. An intact fat plane, absence of wall thickening, and no T2 wall signal abnormalities imply that the esophagus is not invaded.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1681-1687
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology

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