Imaging characterization of non-hypersecreting adrenal masses. Comparison between MR and radionuclide techniques

Simone Maurea, C. Caracò, M. Klain, C. Mainolfi, M. Salvatore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim. In patients with non-hypersecreting adrenal masses, tumor characterization is clinically relevant to establish the appropriate treatment planning. The aim of this study was to comparatively characterize such adrenal lesions using MR and radionuclide techniques. Methods. Thirty patients with non-hypersecreting unilateral adrenal tumors underwent both MR and adrenal scintigraphy. MR was performed using SE T1- (pre- and post-gadolinium DTPA) and T2-weighted images as well as in- and out-phase chemical-shift imaging (CSI). MR qualitative and quantitative (signal intensity ratios) evaluation was performed. Radionuclide studies consisted of iodine-131 nor-cholesterol (n=20), iodine-131 MIBG (n=15) and fluorine-18 FDG PET (n=11) scans. Histology (n=16), biopsy (n=3) or clinical-imaging follow-up (n=11) demonstrated 13 adenomas, 3 cysts, 2 myelolipomas, 4 pheochromocytomas (pheos), 4 carcinomas, 1 sarcoma and 3 metastases. Comparative imaging analysis was focused on adenomas, pheos and malignant tumors. Results. Qualitative MR evaluation showed: signal T2-hyperintensity in 46% of adenomas and in 100% of pheos and malignant tumors, no gadolinium enhancement in 92% of adenomas and definite signal intensity loss on CSI in 100% of such tumor lesions, gadolinium enhancement in 100% of pheos and in 63% of malignancies and no absolute change of signal intensity on CSI in 100% of both pheos and malignancies. Quantitative MR analysis demonstrated: significantly higher signal T2-hyperintensity of pheos compared to adenomas and malignancies as well as significantly higher enhancement after gadolinium in pheos compared to adenomas and malignancies (P

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-197
Number of pages10
JournalQuarterly Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2004


  • Adrenal glands
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Neoplasms
  • Radiopharmaceutics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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