To define criteria for CT and US in differentiating cervical lymph node metastases in oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). CT and/or US of 230 metastatic lymph nodes and 228 benign lymph nodes in 147 patients with oral SCC were retrospectively evaluated. The CT and US findings of each lymph node were compared with the histopathological findings. A metastasis was defined on CT as a lymph node with rim or heterogeneous enhancement, or measuring 10 mm or more in the short axis, regardless of enhancement pattern, and on US as having definite internal echoes, regardless of size, or without definite internal or hilar echoes, but measuring 10 mm or more in the short axis. A lymph node with hilar echoes or a ratio of the long to short axis (L/S ratio) of 3.5 or more was considered benign. A lymph node failing to comform to any of these categories was termed questionable. The positive predictive value (PPV) for CT was 90.8% and the negative predictive value (NPV) was 70.4%. However, 65.7% of all lymph nodes could not be classified as either metastastic or benign. PPV for US was 96.5% and NPV was 88.1%. 25.5% of all lymph nodes could not be classified as either metastatic or benign. Despite limitations in detecting metastses, by including a third category 'questionable' our criteria appear clinically more useful than other current methods based on two groups only.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging