Objectives: The Neck Imaging Reporting and Data System (NI-RADS) is an increasingly utilized risk stratification tool for imaging surveillance after treatment for head and neck cancer. This study aims to measure the impact of supervision by subspecialized radiologists on diagnostic accuracy of NI-RADS when initial reading is performed by residents.
Methods: 150 CT and MRI datasets were initially read by two trained residents, and then supervised by two subspecialized radiologists. Recurrence rates by NI-RADS category were calculated, and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were plotted. After dichotomization of the NI-RADS system (category 1 vs categories 2 + 3+4 and categories 1 + 2 vs 3 + 4), sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value were calculated.
Results: 26% of the reports were modified by the supervising radiologists. Area under the curve of ROC plots values of the supervision session were higher than those of the initial reading session for both the primary site (0.89 vs 0.86) and the neck (0.94 vs 0.91), but the difference was not statistically significant. For dichotomized NI-RADS category assignments, differences between the initial reading and the supervision session were statistically significant regarding specificity and PPV for the primary site (1 + 2 vs 3 + 4 and 1 vs 2 + 3+4) or even for both sites combined (1 vs 2 + 3+4).
Conclusion: NI-RADS enables trained resident radiologists to report surveillance imaging in patients with treated oral squamous cell carcinoma with high discriminatory power. Additional supervision by a subspecialized head and neck radiologist particularly improves specificity of radiological reports.