Objective: To describe the MRI features of liposarcomas of the extremities and correlate them with data from the histologic subtypes. Material and methods: Retrospective study of 20 cases of liposarcoma of the extremities identified on MRI, surgically removed and confirmed at pathology. On MRI examination, T1- and T2-weighted fat-suppressed and non-fat-suppressed images were acquired then gadolinium-enhanced fat-suppressed T1-weighted images were obtained in at least two orthogonal planes. Results: Sixteen female and four male patients aged 12 to 77 years old at presentation, in 16 cases, with a slowly enlarging painless mass (demonstrating no associated local or general inflammatory components), located in the lower extremity (16 cases) and predominantly located in the thigh (13 cases). Pathologic examination revealed three cases of well-differentiated liposarcoma, 12 cases of myxoid liposarcoma one of which with round cells, three cases of pleomorphic liposarcoma, one case of dedifferentiated liposarcoma and one case of mixed-type liposarcoma. MR images mostly showed well-circumscribed tumors (19 cases) Well-differentiated liposarcomas typically demonstrated a very specific diagnostic appearance as a predominantly adipose mass containing nonlipomatous components seen as thick septa that may show nodularity. Other subtypes of liposarcoma demonstrated a small amount of adipose tissue thus producing a marbled textural pattern on T1-weighted images particularly in myxoid liposarcomas (9 cases), or even nonlipomatous elements in high-grade liposarcomas (in round cell liposarcoma and in two out of three pleomorphic liposarcomas). The myxoid subtype has also a relatively characteristic appearance as a low signal intensity noted on T1-weighted images and a marked high signal intensity on T2. The dedifferentiated liposarcoma has a very specific radiologic appearance as a nonlipomatous component within a predominantly adipose mass, simulating that of well-differentiated liposarcomas. Conclusion: MRI of extremity liposarcomas is a highly reliable and sensitive method to characterize liposarcomas. Besides its value in the diagnosis of liposarcoma and locoregional extension control, it allows proper identification of the specific histologic subtypes of liposarcoma. Level of evidence: Level IV. Rétrospective diagnostic study. © 2010 .
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