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Medicine (Baltimore). 2018 Jun;97(25):e11142. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000011142.

The capsule appearance of hepatocellular carcinoma in gadoxetic acid-enhanced MR imaging: Correlation with pathology and dynamic CT.

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Department of Radiology.
Department of Pathology, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon-si, Republic of Korea.


This study aimed to evaluate the capability of gadoxetic acid-enhanced MR (GAeMR) to detect presence of capsule appearance in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and to correlate it with dynamic computed tomography (CT) and pathological features.Sixty-three patients (54: 9 = M: F, mean age 55.8) surgically confirmed HCCs with preoperative CT and GAeMR were included in this retrospective study. Two readers evaluated presence of capsule appearances on CT and GAeMR images in each phase including precontrast (Pre), portal phase (PP), delayed phase (DP), transitional phase (TP), and hepatobiliary phase (HBP). Histologic capsule was compared with CT and GAeMR. Diagnostic performance of CT and GAeMR of each phase for histologic capsule was evaluated and compared by receiver operating characteristic curve. Interobserver agreement was assessed with kappa statistics.Histologically the capsule was complete in 12.7% (8/63) and incomplete in 60.3% (38/63). Four cases (6.3%) were pseudocapsule. Interobserver agreement for capsule appearance on GAeMR was good in Pre (κ = 0.684), moderate in PP (κ = 0.434), poor in TP (κ = 0.187), fair in HBP (κ = 0.395), and moderate on CT in PP (κ = 0.476) and DP (κ = 0.485). Diagnostic performance and sensitivity for the histologic capsule in DP on CT was highest among PP on CT and other phases on GAeMR. DP on CT images showed a higher Az value than PP on CT images with statistical significance (P < .001). PP on MR images revealed higher Az value than PP on CT images.The capsule appearance was most frequently observed in the DP on CT with highest diagnostic performance, and so DP images should be obtained on CT study for liver mass categorization. GAeMR yielded comparable capsule appearance to CT with moderate interobserver agreement. Considering hypointense rim on the HBP as fibrous capsule on pathology should be refrained, and so further study is warranted to correlate HBP hypointense rim with pathologic findings.

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