Adrenocortical neoplasms in adulthood and childhood: distinct presentation. Review of the clinical, pathological and imaging characteristics.
OBJECTIVE The purpose of this study was to retrospectively evaluate early dynamic serial gadolinium-enhanced and chemical-shift imaging (CSI) MRI to distinguish benign from malignant adrenal tumors. MATERIALS AND METHODS Between July 2007 and December 2011, 205 patients with 239 adrenal lesions (177 adenomas, 54 metastases, 5 pheochromocytomas, and 3 adrenal cortical carcinomas) underwent early dynamic serial gadolinium-enhanced MRI and CSI. CSI was assessed qualitatively and by calculating the adrenal index, and enhancement patterns were evaluated qualitatively and quantitatively. Statistical analyses were performed. RESULTS Most adenomas exhibited either an arterial blush or homogeneous enhancement, whereas most metastases showed early peripheral or heterogeneous enhancement. Visualization of higher enhancement on arterial and venous phases enabled differentiation of adenomas from metastases in most cases. Moderate to high signal intensity drop on CSI was seen in 95.4% of adenomas and 14.8% of metastases. In lesions with this level of signal intensity drop, 87 of 88 lesions with a capillary blush were adenomas. Early dynamic serial imaging alone was a significant (p < 0.0001) indicator of nonadenoma (area under the curve [AUC], 0.912) with optimal sensitivity of 81% and specificity of 93% for differentiating adenomas from nonadenomas. Combined analysis (CSI and early dynamic serial imaging) was also significant (p < 0.0001 and p=0.0014, respectively) for diagnosing nonadenomas (AUC, 0.983) with optimal sensitivity of 94% and specificity of 98%. CONCLUSION Early dynamic serial gadolinium-enhanced MRI aids in characterization of adrenal tumors, especially lesions that are categorized as indeterminate on the basis of CSI.