Magnetic resonance imaging in the diagnosis of melanoma: In vivo preliminary studies with dynamic contrast-enhanced subtraction

G. M. Pennasilico, P. P. Arcuri, F. Laschena, C. Potenza, P. Ruatti, R. Bono, F. Sera, P. Falappa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to analyse the potential of fast dynamic subtraction magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in differentiating in vivo melanomas from benign melanocytic lesions. Dynamic MR imaging was performed after intravenous administration of gadopentetate dimeglumine (Gd-DTPA) in 18 patients with melanocytic skin lesions. Using a post-processing algorithm, time-signal intensity curves were obtained for the lesions and classified according to their shapes as type I (steady enhancement increase), type II (plateau of signal intensity) or type III (wash-out of signal intensity). Other parameters evaluated for their potential to differentiate melanomas from benign lesions were the enhancement rate (percentage of signal intensity increase) in the first minute after Gd-DTPA administration, the peak value of the enhancement rate, and the wash-out slope. The pigmented lesions were then surgically excised and the MR results compared with the histological assessment. In melanomas, the mean value of the enhancement rate in the first minute was 611%, whereas in benign lesions it was 131% (P = 0.001). The distribution of curve types was also different: seven of the nine naevi showed type I curves, while eight of the nine melanomas displayed a type III curve. In addition, distinctive wash-out dynamics were observed: the enhancement rate began to decrease between the first and third minutes for melanomas, but continued to increase until the sixth minute for naevi (P = 0.000). These findings, which are most likely related to the neoangiogenesis present in melanomas, indicate that dynamic MR imaging can be helpful in the differential diagnosis of pigmented skin lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-371
Number of pages7
JournalMelanoma Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Contrast medium
  • Magnetic resonance dynamic imaging
  • Melanoma
  • Skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Dermatology


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