Diagnostic efficacy of combined CT and MRI in detecting nodal metastasis in patients with oral cancer

Published:September 23, 2021DOI:


      The objective of this study was to assess the diagnostic efficacy of combined computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in detecting metastases of oral cancers to lymph nodes in the neck.

      Study Design

      In total, 105 patients with previously untreated oral squamous cell carcinoma underwent both CT and MRI within 6 weeks before tumor excision and selective neck dissection. The diagnostic efficacy of combined CT and MRI was compared with published data on the efficacy of CT and MRI alone.


      The sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, and accuracy of diagnosis based on CT and MRI were 80%, 90%, 80%, 90%, and 87%, respectively. These values were similar to or higher than those reported in a meta-analysis for CT or MRI alone. The highest and lowest sensitivities were found for metastatic nodes at levels I (75%) and III (33%). The highest and lowest specificities were discovered for nodes at levels IV (99%) and I (88%).


      Combined CT and MRI may be superior to a single modality alone in detecting metastatic neck nodes. This may have an advantage in both preoperative planning and neck surveillance in superficial oral cancers.
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