Diagnostic accuracy of magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography to detect benign and malignant biliary strictures

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Radiology, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


Background: Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is a noninvasive method to detect pancreaticobiliary strictures. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the diagnostic performance of MRCP and detect sensitive and specific radiologic features in distinguishing malignant and benign pathologies. Materials and Methods: In this study, 50 patients with biliary obstruction and a confirmed diagnosis using histopathology were included. The pathologies were evaluated using MRCP which were categorized into malignant and benign strictures. The etiology of strictures was detected using histopathology and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. The diagnostic performance of MRCP was calculated using SPSS software. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: Of 50 patients, 23 patients (46%) had malignant strictures based on MRCP and histopathology. The sensitivity and specificity of MRCP to detect malignancy were 95.7% and 96.3%, respectively. The most sensitive MRCP features to detect malignancy were upstream biliary duct dilation, abrupt tapering, and the presence of a solid mass with sensitivity 100%, 95.7%, and 78.2%, respectively. The malignancy rate was significantly higher in the strictures with length >11.5 mm or wall thickness >2.75 mm (P < 0.05). Conclusion: MRCP is a sensitive method to differentiate malignant lesions from benign pathologies. A long and thick stricture with the presence of a solid mass, upstream biliary duct dilation, and abrupt tapering is highly suggestive of malignancy.


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