Pre-treatment staging of anal squamous cell carcinoma (ASCC) includes pelvic MRI and [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography with computed tomography (PET-CT). MRI criteria to define lymph node metastases (LNMs) in ASCC are currently lacking. The aim of this study was to describe the morphological characteristics of lymph nodes (LNs) on MRI in ASCC patients with PET-CT-positive LNs.

ASCC patients treated at Skåne University Hospital between 2009 and 2017 were eligible for inclusion if at least one positive LN according to PET-CT and a pre-treatment MRI were present. All PET-CT-positive LNs and PET-CT-negative LNs were retrospectively identified on baseline MRI. Each LN was independently classified according to pre-determined morphological characteristics by two radiologists blinded to clinical patient information.

Sixty-seven ASCC patients were included, with a total of 181 PET-CT-positive LNs identified on baseline MRI with a median short-axis diameter of 9.0 mm (range 7.5–12 mm). MRI morphological characteristics of PET-CT-positive LNs included regular contour (87%), round shape (89%), and homogeneous signal intensity on T2-weighed images (67%). An additional 78 PET-CT-negative LNs were identified on MRI. These 78 LNs had a median size of 6.8 mm (range 5.5–8.0 mm). The majority of PET-CT-negative LNs had a regular contour, round shape, and a homogeneous signal that was congruent to the primary tumor.

There are MRI-specific morphological characteristics for pelvic LNs in ASCC. PET-CT-positive and negative LNs share similar morphological features apart from size, with PET-CT-positive LNs being significantly larger. Further studies are needed to determine discrimination criteria for LNM in ASCC.
TidskriftAbdominal Radiology
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 2024

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Radiologi och bildbehandling


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