This study aimed to assess the utility of pretreatment magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in predicting the clinical outcomes of patients with parotid gland cancer.
A total of 43 patients with histopathologically confirmed primary parotid gland cancer, who underwent pretreatment MRI, were enrolled in this study. All images were retrospectively reviewed, and MRI features were evaluated as possible prognostic factors influencing the progression-free survival (PFS) using the Kaplan-Meier method and Cox proportional hazards regression model. Cox regression analysis was used to estimate the hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence interval (95% CI) values.
Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that old age (>73 years, P < 0.01), large maximum tumor diameter (>33 mm, P < 0.01), low apparent diffusion coefficient value (≤1.29 ×10−3 mm2/s, P < 0.01), ill-defined margin (P < 0.01), skin invasion (P < 0.01), regional nodal metastasis (P < 0.01), heterogeneous enhancement (P < 0.05), and high signal intensity ratio on gadolinium-enhanced fat-suppressed T1-weighted images (>2.017, P < 0.05) were significant predictors of worse PFS. Cox proportional hazards regression analysis revealed that regional nodal metastasis (HR, 32.02; 95% CI, 6.42–159.84; P < 0.01) and maximum tumor diameter (HR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.01–1.08; P < 0.05) were independent predictors of PFS.
Pretreatment MRI parameters could be prognostic factors of patients with parotid gland cancer. In particular, the maximum tumor diameter and regional nodal metastasis, which were closely associated with T and N classifications, were important prognostic factors in predicting the PFS.