The aims of the study were to assess the typical and atypical radiologic features of pathologically proven adrenal adenomas and to determine the relationship between the radiologic and histopathologic classification.
We retrospectively studied 156 pathologically proven adrenal adenomas in 154 patients from our institutional databases who have computed tomography (CT) and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations before intervention. We determined the histopathologic diagnosis (typical or atypical) using Weiss scoring and classified the adenomas radiologically into typical, atypical, or indeterminate based on lesion size, precontrast CT attenuation, absolute percentage washout, calcification, and necrosis. The κ statistic was used to assess the agreement between radiologists. The Fisher exact test was used to compare the radiologic and pathological classifications.
In consensus, there were 83 typical, 42 atypical, and 31 indeterminate adrenal lesions. Logistic regression model showed that radiologically atypical adenoma was significantly associated with larger size, lobulated shape, higher unenhanced CT attenuation, heterogeneous appearance, nonfunctioning status, absolute percentage washout of less than 60%, and a signal intensity index of less than 16.5%.
Pathologically, 147 adenomas were pathologically typical (Weiss 0), and 9 adenomas were pathologically atypical (Weiss 1–2). Radiologically, there was substantial agreement between both readers, with Cohen κ at 0.71. Approximately 98% of radiologically typical adenomas were pathologically typical. Only 17% of radiologically atypical adenomas were pathologically atypical. All radiologically indeterminate adenomas were pathologically typical. However, some of the radiologically indeterminate and typical adenomas still had an atypical component on pathologic analysis, such as necrosis, nuclear atypia, or oncocytic features.
Radiologically atypical lesion was significantly associated with larger size and higher unenhanced CT attenuation. Approximately 27% of the cases demonstrated atypical features on imaging. Most radiologically atypical adrenal adenomas are pathologically typical.