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The role of MR and CT in evaluating clival chordomas and chondrosarcomas

The role of MR and CT in evaluating clival chordomas and chondrosarcomas

Ajr. American Journal of Roentgenology 151(3): 567-575

Sixteen chordomas and nine chondrosarcomas of the clivus were evaluated with CT and MR either before (22 cases) or after (three cases) treatment with proton beam irradiation. The ability of these imaging techniques to provide information necessary to direct patient treatment was studied. The tumor was detected and its gross margins were identified by both techniques in all instances. No reliable diagnostic features allowing differentiation between these two tumors were encountered. MR generally was superior in defining the exact position of the brainstem and optic chiasm relative to the tumor, and it frequently provided superior information about tumor extension into the nasopharynx and cavernous sinus. CT was always better than MR in demonstrating tumoral calcification and in defining the exact anatomy of bone destruction. MR was generally superior to CT in demonstrating the position of the cavernous internal carotid artery relative to the tumor and often provided superior visualization of the vertebral and basilar arteries. In cases in which bone-induced artifact obscured the interface between the neural axis and tumor in the CT image, or in which the tumor had suprasellar extension and was likely to compress the optic chiasm and tracts, MR was of great value in planning irradiation therapy. The high occurrence of clinically asymptomatic signal intensity alterations in the MR studies of previously treated patients appears to limit the differential diagnostic value of this information. Given its greater availability and lower cost, CT appears to be the technique of choice for routine follow-up of previously treated patients.

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Accession: 006760260

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PMID: 3261519

DOI: 10.2214/ajr.151.3.567

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