Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is accurate in differentiating T1 or lower tumors from T2 or higher tumors among patients with bladder cancer, a new review published in the February issue of Radiology suggests.

Li Huang, M.D., Ph.D., from Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify studies evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of MR imaging for differentiating stage T1 or lower tumors from stage T2 or higher tumors in patients with bladder cancer.

Additionally, studies assessing the influence of different imaging protocols in patients with bladder cancer were analyzed.

The study team made a systematic literature review of diagnostic studies in PubMed, Medline, the Cochrane Library, and Web of Science.

The methodologic quality of each study was evaluated by two independent reviewers who used the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies 2 tool.

The team extracted the patient, study, and imaging characteristics. Data pooling, heterogeneity testing, sensitivity analyses, and forest plot construction were included in the statistical analysis.

The researchers identified 17 studies totaling 1,449 patients with bladder cancer. Across studies, the pooled sensitivity of MRI was 0.90 and the specificity was 0.88 for differentiating tumors staged T1 or lower from those staged T2 or higher.

Sensitivity (0.92) and specificity (0.96) were improved with diffusion-weighted imaging and use of higher field strengths (3 T).

"Our meta-analysis shows high sensitivity and specificity for MR imaging to differentiate T1 or lower tumors from T2 or higher tumors before surgery and that a 3.0-T device combined with diffusion-weighted imaging had the highest sensitivity and specificity in all studies," the authors write.