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Gastroenterology. 1995 Jun;108(6):1778-84.

Liver with hypoechoic nodular pattern as a risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Center for Adult Diseases, Osaka, Japan.



Ultrasonography should be used for screening of hepatocellular carcinoma, but there are few reports on the relationship between liver ultrasonographic findings and the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Using prospective follow-up studies, we examined the role of liver with a hypoechoic nodular pattern as a high-risk factor in HCC.


The study was performed by follow-up on 593 patients with chronic liver disease recorded at our hospital. The ultrasonographic pattern of the liver parenchyma was classified either as a small or large hypoechoic nodular pattern or as a nonnodular pattern. Patients were followed up from the time of initial ultrasonographic examination (1985-1987) until January 1, 1991.


During the follow-up period (average, 4.2 years, range, 0.3-6.0 years), 62 patients were found to have HCC (12%). Patients whose livers showed small or large hypoechoic nodular pattern had a significantly higher risk of HCC than did patients whose livers showed a nonnodular pattern (rate ratios were 14.0 and 20.0, respectively, adjusted for age, sex, hepatitis virus markers, ICG R15, alpha-fetoprotein concentration, and ultrasonographic pattern of the liver).


Liver showing a hypoechoic nodular pattern is a major risk factor in HCC.

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