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Br J Radiol. 2012 Sep;85(1017):e573-83. doi: 10.1259/bjr/86767895.

Enhancement patterns of hepatocellular carcinomas on multiphasicmultidetector row CT: comparison with pathological differentiation.

Author information

1
Department of Radiology, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The objective of this study was to determine the incidence of typical and atypical enhancement patterns of hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) on multiphasic multidetector row CT (MDCT) and to correlate the enhancement patterns and morphological image findings of HCC with the degree of tumour differentiation.

METHODS:

MDCT images of 217 patients with 243 surgically proven HCCs were evaluated through consensus reading by two radiologists. Our MDCT protocol was composed of precontrast, arterial, portal and delayed phases. The reviewers analysed the CT images for degree of attenuation; relative timing of washout; presence of dysmorphic intratumoral vessels, aneurysms and necrosis; tumour size; tumour margin; presence of pseudocapsule; intratumoral heterogeneity; and determined enhancement pattern. The imaging features were correlated with tumour differentiation using Fisher's exact test or the χ(2) test.

RESULTS:

Among 243 HCCs, 137 (56.4%) showed the typical enhancement pattern of HCC, which is arterial enhancement and washout on portal or equilibrium phase images. In the arterial phase, 190 of 243 (78.2%) HCCs showed hypervascularity, with approximately three quarters of poorly differentiated (PD) (34 of 45, 75.6%) and moderately differentiated (MD) HCCs (92 of 123, 74.8%) showing washout during the portal or delayed phases, vs only 50% of well-differentiated (WD) HCCs (11 of 22; p<0.048). The presence of intratumoral vessels and aneurysms, tumour necrosis, attenuation of precontrast, the relative timing of washout, intratumoral attenuation heterogeneity, tumour margin and tumour size were correlated with the pathological differentiation of HCCs (p<0.05).

CONCLUSION:

A typical enhancement of HCCs on MDCT was not unusual (43.6%) and WD and PD HCCs account for most of the atypical enhancement patterns. Early washout favoured MD and PD HCCs rather than WD HCCs, whereas in our study the presence of intratumoral aneurysm was a highly specific finding for PD HCC.

PMID:
22919011
PMCID:
PMC3487070
DOI:
10.1259/bjr/86767895
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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