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Zhonghua Zhong Liu Za Zhi. 2005 Nov;27(11):691-4.

[Triple-phase helical CT in the differential diagnosis between small hepatocellular carcinoma and small hepatic cavernous hemangioma].

[Article in Chinese]

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Peking University Shenzhen Hospital, Shenzhen 518036, China.



To scrutinize the enhancement pattern at hepatic arterial phase (HAP), portal venous phase (PVP) and delayed phase (DP) by helical CT examination in order to differentiate small hepatocellular carcinoma (SHCC) from small hepatic cavernous hemangioma (SHCH).


In 38 patients (41 lesions) with SHCC and 35 patients (45 lesions) with SHCH, the images at HAP, PVP and DP were recorded as to the characteristic of enhancements with the average CT value at the HAP monitored and compared.


The enhancement patterns of SHCC at the HAP, PVP, and DP were assessed as hyper-hypo-hypodense in 20 lesions, hyper-iso-hypodense in 6 lesions, hyper-hyper-hypodense in 3 lesions, hyper-iso-isodense in 5 lesions, iso-hypo-hypodense in 3 lesions, and hypo-hypo-hypodense in 4 lesions. The enhancement patterns of the SHCH were assessed as a peripheral hyperdense nodular at HAP, then progressively enlarged at PVP and turned into a isodense or homogeneous hyperdense nodular at DP in 27 lesions, hyper-hyper-iso or hyperdense in 9 lesions, hyper-iso-isodense in 3 lesions, hypo-hypo-hypodense in 6 lesions. The enhancement CT values at the HAP of homogeneous hyperdense SHCC and SHCH were (40.4 +/- 15.5) Hounsfield Unit (HU) and (102.8 +/- 18.9) HU respectively (P < 0.01).


Most of the small hepatocellular carcinoma and small hepatic cavernous hemangioma have typical appearance by triple-phase helical CT examination, and can easily and properly be diagnosed. But it is difficult to distinguish SHCC from SHCH with atypical appearance in isolated cases. Hence differentiation may be difficult. Therefore, further examinations such as MRI, ultra-sonography or isotope scintigraphy are helpful in the differential diagnosis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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