Contrast Media Enhancement Of Intracranial Lesions In Magnetic Resonance Imaging Does Not Reflect Histopathologic Findings Consistently

Brunner Singh J, Oevermann A, Lang J, et al.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2011;52:619-626.

Certain magnetic resonance (MR) enhancement patterns are often considered to be associated with a specific diagnosis but experience shows that this association is not always consistent. Therefore, it is not clear how reliably contrast enhancement patterns correlate with specific tissue changes. We investigated the detailed histomorphologic findings of intracranial lesions in relation to Gadodiamide contrast enhancement in 55 lesions from 55 patients, nine cats, and 46 dogs. Lesions were divided into areas according to their contrast enhancement; therefore 81 areas resulted from the 55 lesions which were directly compared with histopathology. In 40 of 55 lesions (73%), the histomorphologic features explained the contrast enhancement pattern. In particular, vascular proliferation and dilated vessels occurred significantly more often in areas with enhancement than in areas without enhancement (P=0.044). In 15 lesions, there was no association between MR images and histologic findings. In particular, contrast enhancement was found within necrotic areas (10 areas) and ring enhancement was seen in lesions without central necrosis (five lesions). These findings imply that necrosis cannot be differentiated reliably from viable tissue based on postcontrast images. Diffusion of contrast medium within lesions and time delays after contrast medium administration probably play important roles in the presence and patterns of contrast enhancement. Thus, histologic features of lesions cannot be predicted solely by contrast enhancement patterns.