DECT-based technique identifies metastatic lymph nodes

Wednesday, November 29 | 3:30 p.m.-3:40 p.m. | W7-SSCH08-4 | Room E350

In this Wednesday presentation, researchers will share results from a study that demonstrated how a dual-energy computed tomography (DECT)-based technique can identify lymph node metastases in breast cancer patients.

The technique uses iodine quantification and fat fraction analysis, according to a group led by Ibrahim Yel, MD, of the University Hospital Frankfurt in Germany. Yel's team performed a study that included 30 women with breast cancer who underwent DECT before undergoing lymph node removal; histological information after surgery was the reference standard. The investigators evaluated 214 lymph nodes. Of these, 147 were axillary (metastatic, 46; normal, 101); 46 were mediastinal (metastatic, 20; normal, 26); and 21 were intramammary (metastatic, 10; normal, 11).

Yel and colleagues found that DECT-identified fat fraction measures were significantly lower in metastatic lymph nodes compared to non-metastatic ones (10.8% compared with 38.8%, p < 0.0001). The group also found that the optimal fat fraction threshold for diagnosing metastatic lymph nodes was 17.8%, which carried a sensitivity of 89% and specificity of 93%.

The study findings could translate into better outcome for breast cancer patients, according to the researchers.

"Lymph node involvement [in breast cancer] is a crucial prognostic factor, with a 40% reduction in five-year survival rates for [women] with lymph node metastases," they concluded. "With the DECT fat fraction analysis, metastatic lymph nodes can be identified regardless of the morphological appearance and … used as a diagnostic biomarker."

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