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Differentiation of adrenal adenoma and nonadenoma in unenhanced CT: New optimal threshold value and the usefulness of size criteria for differentiation

 Sung Hee Park  ;  Myeong-Jin Kim  ;  Ki Whang Kim  ;  Joon Seok Lim  ;  Joo Hee Kim 
 KOREAN JOURNAL OF RADIOLOGY, Vol.8(4) : 328-335, 2007 
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Objective To determine the optimal threshold for the attenuation values in unenhanced computed tomography (CT) and assess the value of the size criteria for differentiating between an adrenal adenoma and a nonadenoma. Materials and Methods The unenhanced CT images of 45 patients at our institution, who underwent a surgical resection of an adrenal masses between January 2001 and July 2005, were retrospectively reviewed. Forty-five adrenal masses included 25 cortical adenomas, 12 pheochromocytomas, three lymphomas, and five metastases confirmed by pathology were examined. The CT images were obtained at a slice thickness of 2 mm to 3 mm. The mAs were varied from 100 to 160 and 200 to 280, while the 120 KVp was maintained in all cases. The mean attenuation values of an adrenal adenoma and nonadenoma were compared using an unpaired t test. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and accuracy at thresholds of 10 Hu, 20 Hu, and 25 HU were compared. The diagnostic accuracy according to the size criteria from 2 cm to 6 cm was also compared. Results The twenty-five adenomas showed significantly lower (p < 0.05) attenuation values(mean ± SD; 16.3 ± 14.9) than the nonadenomas (38.1 ± 6.8). Nineteen (90%) of the 20 nonadenomas had attenuation values ranging from 30 to 50 HU. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and accuracy for diagnosing adenomas were 36%, 100%, 100%, 56%, and 64%, respectively, at a threshold of 10 HU; 60%, 100%, 100%, 67%, and 78%, respectively, at a threshold of 20 HU; and 72%, 95%, 95%, 73%, and 82%, respectively, at a threshold of 25 HU. The adenomas had a significantly (p < 0.05) smaller diameter (2.44 ± 1.24 cm) than the nonadenomas (5.09 ± 2.37 cm). The size criteria using a diameter of 4-6 cm showed a sensitivity > 90% but a specificity < 70%. Size criteria of 2 or 3 cm had a high specificity of 100% and 80% but a low sensitivity of 20% and 60%. Conclusion The threshold attenuation values of 20 or 25 HU in the unenhanced CT appear optimal for discriminating an adrenal adenoma from a nonadenoma. The size criteria are of little value in differentiating adrenal masses because of their low specificity or low sensitivity.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Radiology (영상의학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Kim, Ki Whang(김기황)
Kim, Myeong Jin(김명진) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7949-5402
Kim, Joo Hee(김주희) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5383-3602
Park, Sung Hee(박성희)
Lim, Joon Seok(임준석) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0334-5042
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