The interobserver agreement in the detection of recurrent HNSCC using MRI including diffusion weighted MRI

Boris Peltenburg*, Juliette P. Driessen, Marielle E. P. Philippens, Frank A. Pameijer, Jonas Castelijns, Jan Willem Dankbaar, Bart Dorgelo, Charlotte A. H. Lange, Frederick J. A. Meijer, Walter M. Palm, Stefan D. Roosendaal, Stefan C. A. Steens, Befit M. Verbist, Inge Stegeman, Luuk M. Janssen, Remco de Bree, Chris H. J. Terhaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: For the detection of local recurrences of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) after (chemo)radiation, diagnostic imaging is generally performed. Diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) has been proven to be able to adequately diagnose the presence of cancer. However evaluation of DW-MR images for recurrences is difficult and could be subject to individual interpretation. Aim: To determine the interobserver agreement, intraobserver agreement and influence of experience of radiologists in the assessment of DW-MRI in patients clinically suspected of local recurrent HNSCC after (chemo) radiation. Methods: Ten experienced head and neck radiologists assessed follow-up MRI including DW-MRI series of 10 patients for the existence of local recurrence on a two point decision scale (local recurrence or local control). Patients were clinically suspected for a recurrence of laryngeal (n = 3), hypopharyngeal (n = 3) or oropharyngeal (n = 4) cancer after (chemo)radiation with curative intent. Fleiss' and Cohen's Kappa were used to determine interobserver agreement and intraobserver agreement, respectively. Results: Interobserver agreement was kappa = 0.55. Intraobserver agreement was kappa = 0.80. Prior experience within the field of radiology and with DW-MRI had no significant influence on the scoring. Conclusion: For the assessment of HNSCC recurrence after (chemo)radiation by DW-MRI, moderate interobserver agreement and substantial intraobserver agreement was found.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-140
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Radiology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • Diffusion weighted MRI
  • Head and neck
  • Interobserver agreement
  • Local recurrence
  • HEAD
  • PET/CT

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