Do contrast-enhanced and advanced MRI sequences improve diagnostic accuracy for indeterminate lipomatous tumors?

Brett A. Shannon, Shivani Ahlawat, Carol D. Morris, Adam S. Levin, Laura M. Fayad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Benign, intermediate-grade and malignant tumors sometimes have overlapping imaging and clinical characteristics. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the added value of contrast-enhanced sequences (dynamic contrast enhancement (DCE)), diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), and chemical shift imaging (CSI) to noncontrast MRI sequences for the characterization of indeterminate lipomatous tumors. Materials and methods: Thirty-two consecutive patients with histologically proven peripheral lipomatous tumors were retrospectively evaluated. Two musculoskeletal radiologists recorded the MRI features in three sessions: (1) with noncontrast T1-weighted and fluid-sensitive sequences; (2) with addition of static pre- and post-contrast 3D volumetric T1-weighted sequences; and (3) with addition of DCE, DWI, and CSI. After each session, readers recorded a diagnosis (benign, intermediate/atypical lipomatous tumor (ALT), or malignant/dedifferentiated liposarcoma (DDL)). Categorical imaging features (presence of septations, nodules, contrast enhancement) and quantitative metrics (apparent diffusion coefficient values, CSI signal loss) were recorded. Results: For 32 tumors, the diagnostic accuracy of both readers did not improve with the addition of contrast-enhanced sequences, DWI, or CSI (53% (17/32) session 1; 50% (16/30) session 2; 53% (17/32) session 3). Noncontrast features, including thick septations (p = 0.025) and nodules ≥ 1 cm (p < 0.001), were useful for differentiating benign tumors from ALTs and DDLs, as were DWI (p = 0.01) and CSI (p = 0.009) metrics. Conclusion: The addition of contrast-enhanced sequences (static, DCE), DWI, and CSI to a conventional, noncontrast MRI protocol did not improve diagnostic accuracy for differentiating benign, intermediate-grade, and malignant lipomatous tumors. However, we identified potentially useful imaging features by DCE, DWI, and CSI that may help distinguish these entities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-99
Number of pages10
JournalRadiologia Medica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Atypical lipomatous tumor
  • Lipoma
  • Liposarcoma
  • MRI
  • Neoplasm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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