Clinical utility of imaging for evaluation of hepatocellular carcinoma
Takamichi Murakami,1 Masakatsu Tsurusaki,1 Tomoko Hyodo,1 Yasuharu Imai2
1Department of Radiology, Kinki University Faculty of Medicine, 2Department of Hepatology and Gastroenterology, Ikeda Municipal Hospital, Osaka, Japan
Abstract: The hemodynamics of a hepatocellular nodule is the most important imaging parameter used to characterize various hepatocellular nodules in liver cirrhosis, because sequential changes occur in the feeding vessels and hemodynamic status during hepatocarcinogenesis. Therefore, the imaging criteria for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are also usually based on vascular findings, eg, early arterial uptake followed by washout in the portal venous and equilibrium phases. Contrast-enhanced ultrasonography, dynamic multidetector-row computed tomography (MDCT), and dynamic magnetic resonance (MR) imaging with gadopentetate dimeglumine (Gd-DTPA) are useful for detecting hypervascular HCC on the basis of vascular criteria but are not as useful for hypovascular HCC. Contrast-enhanced MR imaging with gadolinium ethoxybenzyl diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (Gd-EOB-DTPA), a hepatocyte-specific MR contrast agent, is superior to dynamic MDCT and dynamic MR imaging with Gd-DTPA in detecting both hypervascular and hypovascular HCC. Moreover, Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MR imaging can display each histologically differentiated HCC as hypointense relative to the liver parenchyma. 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography imaging might not be suitable for the screening and detection of HCC, given its lower diagnostic performance. However, this technique plays an important role in determining whether HCC has spread beyond the liver.
Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma, evaluation, imaging, clinical utility
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