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Braunagel, Margarita; Birnbacher, Lorenz; Willner, Marian; Marschner, Mathias; Marco, Fabio de; Viermetz, Manuel; Notohamiprodjo, Susan; Hellbach, Katharina; Auweter, Sigrid; Link, Vera; Woischke, Christine; Reiser, Maximilian F.; Pfeiffer, Franz; Notohamiprodjo, Mike; Herzen, Julia (2017): Qualitative and Quantitative Imaging Evaluation of Renal Cell Carcinoma Subtypes with Grating-based X-ray Phase-contrast CT. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 7, 45400
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Abstract

Current clinical imaging methods face limitations in the detection and correct characterization of different subtypes of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), while these are important for therapy and prognosis. The present study evaluates the potential of grating-based X-ray phase-contrast computed tomography (gbPC-CT) for visualization and characterization of human RCC subtypes. The imaging results for 23 ex vivo formalin-fixed human kidney specimens obtained with phase-contrast CT were compared to the results of the absorption-based CT (gbCT), clinical CT and a 3T MRI and validated using histology. Regions of interest were placed on each specimen for quantitative evaluation. Qualitative and quantitative gbPC-CT imaging could significantly discriminate between normal kidney cortex (54 +/- 4 HUp) and clear cell (42 +/- 10), papillary (43 +/- 6) and chromophobe RCCs (39 +/- 7), p < 0.05 respectively. The sensitivity for detection of tumor areas was 100%, 50% and 40% for gbPC-CT, gbCT and clinical CT, respectively. RCC architecture like fibrous strands, pseudocapsules, necrosis or hyalinization was depicted clearly in gbPC-CT and was not equally well visualized in gbCT, clinical CT and MRI. The results show that gbPC-CT enables improved discrimination of normal kidney parenchyma and tumorous tissues as well as different soft-tissue components of RCCs without the use of contrast media.