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J Hepatol. 2016 May;64(5):1099-1107. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2016.01.018. Epub 2016 Jan 25.

Diagnostic criteria for hepatocellular carcinoma ⩽3 cm with hepatocyte-specific contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging.

Author information

1
Department of Radiology and Research Institute of Radiology, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, 88 Olympic-Ro 43-Gil, Songpa-Gu, Seoul 138-736, Republic of Korea.
2
Department of Radiology and Research Institute of Radiology, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, 88 Olympic-Ro 43-Gil, Songpa-Gu, Seoul 138-736, Republic of Korea. Electronic address: jhbyun@amc.seoul.kr.
3
Department of Gastroenterology, Liver Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, 88 Olympic-Ro 43-Gil, Songpa-Gu, Seoul 138-736, Republic of Korea.
4
Department of Pathology, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, 88 Olympic-Ro 43-Gil, Songpa-Gu, Seoul 138-736, Republic of Korea.

Abstract

BACKGROUND & AIMS:

Current diagnostic imaging criteria for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are dedicated to imaging with nonspecific extracellular contrast agents. This study aimed to evaluate diagnostic criteria for HCC ⩽3 cm on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with a hepatocyte-specific contrast agent through an inception cohort study.

METHODS:

Of 291 patients with chronic liver disease and new nodules of 1-3 cm in diameter at surveillance ultrasonography, 295 solid nodules (194 HCCs, 98 benign nodules, and three other malignancies) in 198 patients with a confirmed final diagnosis or ⩾24 months follow-up were evaluated on gadoxetic acid-enhanced MRI. Through univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses, various diagnostic criteria were developed by combining significant MRI findings for diagnosing HCC. The diagnostic performance of each criterion was compared with that of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) criteria.

RESULTS:

Four MRI findings (arterial-phase hyperintensity, transitional-phase hypointensity, hepatobiliary-phase hypointensity, and rim enhancement) were independently significant for diagnosis of HCC ⩽3 cm. For whole nodules, EASL criteria showed the best performance for diagnosing HCC (sensitivity, 83.5%; specificity, 81.2%). For nodules ⩽2 cm in diameter, a new criterion (arterial-phase hyperintensity and hepatobiliary-phase hypointensity) showed a significantly higher sensitivity than that of the EASL criteria (83.0% vs. 74.5%, p=0.008), without a significantly different specificity (76.7% vs. 81.1%, p=0.125).

CONCLUSIONS:

EASL criteria exhibit the best diagnostic performance for HCC ⩽3 cm on hepatocyte-specific contrast-enhanced MRI. A newly identified criterion (arterial-phase hyperintensity and hepatobiliary-phase hypointensity) may increase the diagnostic sensitivity of small (⩽2 cm) HCC.

KEYWORDS:

Diagnostic criteria; Diagnostic imaging; Gadoxetic acid; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Magnetic resonance imaging

PMID:
26820629
DOI:
10.1016/j.jhep.2016.01.018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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