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Dig Surg. 2004;21(5-6):413-20. Epub 2004 Nov 24.

Correlation between dynamic computed tomographic and histopathological findings in the diagnosis of small hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan.



To determine the characteristic image findings on dynamic computed tomography (CT) for small hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), we evaluated the correlation of histopathological and radiological findings with respect to the angioarchitecture in small HCCs.


CT and early- and late-phase dynamic CT findings of 80 small HCCs (< or =3 cm) were divided into iso-, high, low, and mixed density. We studied the correlation between the imaging findings and the histopathological findings as follows: differentiation grade; presence of fibrous capsule; presence of Glisson's sheath, and growth pattern.


High-density early-phase CT and low-density late-phase CT correlated significantly with moderately/poorly differentiated HCCs, which have a fibrous capsule, no Glisson's sheath, and an expansive growth pattern. In contrast, well-differentiated HCCs with a Glisson's sheath and a replacing pattern (early HCC) appeared as iso-dense lesions in the early and late phases. Well-differentiated HCCs (non-early wHCC) demonstrated various density images in the early phase and low-density images in the late phase.


Dynamic CT is an economic and simple diagnostic tool for planning treatment of small HCC lesions because of the multistep nature of HCC carcinogenesis and the hemodynamic changes of tumor blood flow.

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