Accuracy of conventional MRI for preoperative diagnosis of intracranial tumors: A single center report of 762 cases

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Background: Conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is considered a valuable tool for preoperative diagnosis of intracranial tumors. We assessed its accuracy in the diagnosis of intracranial tumors in usual clinical practice.
Materials and methods: MRI reports of 762 patients who had undergone conventional brain MRI prior to surgery were retrospectively reviewed. A 4-grade scoring system was devised to establish diagnostic agreement. Each tumor type was compared with the corresponding pathological diagnoses by dichotomization. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), and accuracy were calculated for the overall patient population as well as for each tumor type.
Results: 664 cases (87.1%) were tumor-positive, and 98 cases (12.9%) were tumor-negative. The most common tumor types were meningiomas, gliomas, pituitary adenomas and schwannomas. These four types together comprised 74.5% of all cases reviewed. Sensitivity and PPV for the overall population were 72.0-90.7% and 91.9-95.4%, respectively. Diagnostic accuracy differed among tumor types. Meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, schwannomas and cholesteatomas were more likely to be diagnosed correctly (sensitivities were 82.6-96.9%, 86.1-96.7%, 88.9-98.2% and 91.3-100.0%, respectively); while some other types like solitary fibrous tumors (SFTs) seemed difficult to identify. Gliomas tended to be confused with metastases, meningiomas with SFTs, and pituitary adenomas with craniopharyngiomas.
Conclusion: The accuracy of conventional MRI for diagnosing intracranial tumors is generally satisfactory but should not be too heavily relied upon, especially for certain tumor types. In cases of discrepancy, neurosurgeons are encouraged to confer with the reporting neuroradiologists to achieve optimal preoperative diagnoses.

Publication ( Name of Journal)

International Journal of Surgery