Incidental Renal Lesions on Lumbar Spine MRI: Who Needs Follow-Up?
AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2019 Jan;212(1):130-134. doi: 10.2214/AJR.18.20079. Epub 2018 Nov 7.
Nelson SM1, Oettel DJ1, Lisanti CJ1, Schwope RB1, Timpone VM1,2.
OBJECTIVE: Incidentally discovered renal lesions on lumbar spine MRI are a common occurrence. Many follow-up recommendations are generated by radiologists encountering renal lesions to help characterize the finding as a benign cyst or a more complex, potentially malignant lesion. We hypothesized that analysis of T2-weighted imaging features of incidentally discovered renal lesions could reliably distinguish complex renal lesions from simple cysts.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Two independent readers retrospectively evaluated 149 renal lesions identified on lumbar spine MRI examinations. Presence or absence of a complex renal lesion was determined using T2-weighted imaging only. Using dedicated renal cross-sectional imaging examinations as the reference standard, statistical analysis was performed to determine the accuracy of lumbar spine MRI in predicting a complex and potentially neoplastic renal lesion.
RESULTS: Of 149 renal lesions, 115 were simple cysts, and 34 were complex renal lesions (20 Bosniak II cysts, nine renal cell carcinomas, three Bosniak IIF cysts, and two angiomyolipomas). Lumbar spine MRI readers identified 72 lesions as simple cysts and 77 lesions as complex renal lesions. Reader sensitivity for detection of a complex renal lesion on lumbar spine MRI was 94% (95% CI, 80-99%); specificity, 63% (95% CI, 53-72%); positive predictive value, 43% (95% CI, 37-49%); and negative predictive value, 97% (95% CI, 90-99%). Readers correctly identified all neoplastic and potentially neoplastic lesions (≥ Bosniak IIF). Interreader agreement was excellent (κ = 0.84).
CONCLUSION: Follow-up imaging may not be required in all cases of incidentally discovered renal lesions on lumbar spine MRI. Analysis of T2-weighted imaging alone appears to reliably rule out neoplastic and potentially neoplastic complex renal lesions.