Simulated Dose Reduction for Abdominal CT With Filtered Back Projection Technique: Effect on Liver Lesion Detection and Characterization.
AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2019 Jan;212(1):84-93. doi: 10.2214/AJR.17.19441. Epub 2018 Oct 9.
Fält T1, Söderberg M2, Hörberg L1, Christoffersen C1, Lång K1, Abul-Kasim K1, Leander P1.
OBJECTIVE: Previous studies have shown the possibility to reduce radiation dose in abdominal CT by 25-50% without negatively affecting detection of liver lesions. How radiation dose reduction affects characterization of liver metastases is not as well known. The objective of this study was to investigate how different levels of simulated dose reduction affect the detection and characterization of liver lesions, primarily hypovascular metastases. A secondary objective was to analyze the relationship between the lesion size and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) and the detection rate.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirty-nine patients (19 with metastases and 20 without) were retrospectively selected. The following radiation dose levels (DLs) were simulated: 100% (reference level), 75%, 50%, and 25%. Five readers were asked to mark liver lesions and rate the probability of malignancy on a 5-grade Likert scale. Noninferiority analysis using the jackknife free-response ROC (JAFROC) method was performed as well as direct comparison of detection rates and grades.
RESULTS: JAFROC analysis showed noninferior detection and characterization of metastases at DL75 as compared with DL100. However, the number of benign lesions and false-positive localizations rated as "suspected malignancy" was significantly higher at DL75.
CONCLUSION: Radiation dose can be reduced by 25% without negatively affecting diagnosis of hypovascular liver metastases. Characterization of benign lesions, however, is impaired at DL75, which may lead to unnecessary follow-up examinations. Finally, increased image noise seems to affect the detection of small lesions to a degree that cannot be explained solely by the reduction in CNR.