Meta-analysis of magnetic resonance imaging accuracy for diagnosis of oral cancerReport as inadecuate

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To establish the diagnostic accuracy of magnetic resonance imaging MRI as an auxiliary means for the diagnosis of oral cancer through a systematic review and meta-analysis.


An exhaustive search of publications from 1986 to 2016 was performed of Medline, Embase and Cochrane and related databases, including grey literature. Primary diagnostic accuracy studies that assessed oral cancer target condition using MRI index test were included. Diagnostic threshold, sensitivity and meta-regression analyses were performed. A meta-analysis was performed using Meta-DiSc® v. 1.4 software.


A total of 24 primary studies were assessed, comprising 1,403 oral cancer lesions. Nine studies used diffusion-weighted MRI, with a diagnostic odds ratio DOR of 30.7 95% confidence interval CI: 12.7–74.3 and area under the curve AUC of 0.917 95% CI: 0.915–0.918; seven studies used dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI, with a DOR of 48.1 95%CI: 22.4–103.2 and AUC of 0.936 95% CI: 0.934–0.937; and 13 studies used traditional MRI, with a DOR of 23.9 95%CI: 13.2–43.3 and AUC of 0.894 95% CI: 0.894–0.895. Meta-regression analysis indicated that the magnetic field strength may have influenced the heterogeneity of the results obtained p = 0.0233 using traditional MRI. Sensitivity analysis revealed a discrete reduction of inconsistency in some subgroups.


The three types of MRI assessed exhibited satisfactory accuracy compared to biopsy. Considering the relevance of early treatment and screening and that better health care results in improved survival rates and quality of life for oral cancer patients, we suggest the use of MRI as a part of the pre-treatment and monitoring protocol at public health services.

Author: Marcelo Aldrighi Moreira, Luiza Silveira Lessa, Francieli Regina Bortoli, Abigail Lopes, Eduardo Picolo Xavier, Renan Antonio Cer



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