Delayed enhancement in differential diagnosis of salivary gland neoplasm

Alfonso Reginelli, Alfredo Clemente, Matteo Renzulli, Nicola Maggialetti, Mario Santagata, Giuseppe Colella, Valerio Nardone, Rita Golfieri, Luca Brunese, Salvatore Cappabianca


Background: Multi-phasic Computed Tomography (CT) evaluation allows to study the enhancement features of parotid gland masses. The aim of our study was to evaluate the role of delayed enhancement in the characterization of different histologic types of parotid tumours.
Methods: Forty-eight patients (22 male and 26 female) with at least one parotid gland tumor, were included in our study. Multi-phase CT images were obtained before and 30, 120 s and 8 minutes after intravenous contrast injection. The images were evaluated by two radiologists for lesion enhancement degree. A quantitative assessment was performed using a region of interest on each lesion and density changes between different phases were compared. The tumoral enhancement ratio was calculated between the 8 minutes delayed and the early (30 s) phase. The pathological diagnosis was confirmed in all patients after surgery.
Results: All patients had unilateral lesion for a total of 48 lesions. Twenty-eight were pleomorphic adenomas, 15 Warthin’s tumours and 5 carcinomas. All Warthin tumours showed a rapid contrast enhancement at the early phase (30 sec) followed by a progressive wash-out during the delayed scans. Most of pleomorphic adenomas (89.2%) showed the highest density at the 8-minutes delayed phase. Malignant tumours showed slower contrast enhancement and 3 out of 5 (60%) showed a marked decrease at the 8 minutes delayed phase while the remaining 2 (40%), did not show any density reduction. The tumoral enhancement ratio was significantly different between Warthin tumours and pleomorphic adenomas and between Warthin's and malignant tumours.
Conclusions: Multi-phasic CT examination with 8 minutes delayed acquisition has shown to be useful in parotid gland lesion differentiation.