Quantitative differentiation of minimal-fat angiomyolipomas from renal cell carcinomas using grating-based x-ray phase-contrast computed tomography: An ex vivo study

PLoS One. 2023 Apr 14;18(4):e0279323. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0279323. eCollection 2023.


BACKGROUND: The differentiation of minimal-fat-or low-fat-angiomyolipomas from other renal lesions is clinically challenging in conventional computed tomography. In this work, we have assessed the potential of grating-based x-ray phase-contrast computed tomography (GBPC-CT) for visualization and quantitative differentiation of minimal-fat angiomyolipomas (mfAMLs) and oncocytomas from renal cell carcinomas (RCCs) on ex vivo renal samples.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Laboratory GBPC-CT was performed at 40 kVp on 28 ex vivo kidney specimens including five angiomyolipomas with three minimal-fat (mfAMLs) and two high-fat (hfAMLs) subtypes as well as three oncocytomas and 20 RCCs with eight clear cell (ccRCCs), seven papillary (pRCCs) and five chromophobe RCC (chrRCC) subtypes. Quantitative values of conventional Hounsfield units (HU) and phase-contrast Hounsfield units (HUp) were determined and histogram analysis was performed on GBPC-CT and grating-based attenuation-contrast computed tomography (GBAC-CT) slices for each specimen. For comparison, the same specimens were imaged at a 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner.

RESULTS: We have successfully matched GBPC-CT images with clinical MRI and histology, as GBPC-CT presented with increased soft tissue contrast compared to absorption-based images. GBPC-CT images revealed a qualitative and quantitative difference between mfAML samples (58±4 HUp) and oncocytomas (44±10 HUp, p = 0.057) and RCCs (ccRCCs: 40±12 HUp, p = 0.012; pRCCs: 43±9 HUp, p = 0.017; chrRCCs: 40±7 HUp, p = 0.057) in contrast to corresponding laboratory attenuation-contrast CT and clinical MRI, although not all differences were statistically significant. Due to the heterogeneity and lower signal of oncocytomas, quantitative differentiation of the samples based on HUp or in combination with HUs was not possible.

CONCLUSIONS: GBPC-CT allows quantitative differentiation of minimal-fat angiomyolipomas from pRCCs and ccRCCs in contrast to absorption-based imaging and clinical MRI.

PMID:37058505 | PMC:PMC10104346 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0279323


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