Purpose: To evaluate the impact of subtraction CT on reader confidence and diagnostic accuracy when characterizing renal masses.
Materials and Methods: In this institutional review board–approved retrospective study, 159 patients (85 men and 74 women; mean age, 62.6 years; range, 22–88 years) underwent routine unenhanced and contrast-enhanced multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) for renal lesion characterization. Subtraction images were subsequently generated on scanner console. Two readers independently reviewed the MDCT images to characterize presence of enhancement using a 6-point scale during 3 blinded review sessions of (1) only subtraction, (2) routine, and (3) combined subtraction and routine images. The standard of reference consisted of either histopathology or follow-up imaging and clinical data.
Results: Of the 240 lesions evaluated, 60 lesions (mean, 3.2 cm; range, 1–7.5 cm) were enhancing and 180 lesions (mean, 2.7 cm; range, 0.5–12 cm) were nonenhancing. For determination of lesion enhancement, a combined evaluation of routine MDCT and subtraction images improved reader confidence in 60% to 63% of lesions (P < 0.001). The combined evaluation also provided the highest sensitivity (97%), specificity (99%), and accuracy (98.9%).
Conclusion: When used in combination with routine image interpretation, subtraction CT improves reader confidence and diagnostic accuracy in identifying enhancement in renal lesions.