Value of delayed hypointensity and delayed enhancing rim in magnetic resonance imaging diagnosis of small hepatocellular carcinoma in the cirrhotic liver

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Abstract

Purpose:

To determine the diagnostic utility of delayed hypointensity and delayed enhancing rim on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as indicators of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in arterially enhancing nodules ≤5 cm in the cirrhotic liver and determine the features that best predict HCC.

Materials and Methods:

Gadolinium-enhanced MRI studies performed from January 2001 to December 2004 in patients with cirrhosis were evaluated for arterially enhancing nodules measuring ≤5 cm. Verification was via explant correlation, biopsy, or imaging follow-up. Sensitivity and specificity of diagnostic features of HCC were calculated. Features predictive of HCC were determined using the Generalized Estimating Equation approach.

Results:

In all, 116 arterially enhancing nodules were identified in 80 patients (<2 cm: n = 79, 2–5 cm n = 37). Sensitivity and specificity of delayed hypointensity for HCC measuring ≤5 cm, 2–5 cm, and <2 cm were 0.54 (40 of 74) and 0.86 (36 of 42); 0.72 (23 of 32) and 0.80 (4 of 5); and 0.41 (17 of 42) and 0.87 (32 of 37). For the delayed enhancing rim sensitivity and specificity were 0.64 (47 of 74) and 0.86 (36 of 42); 0.75 (24 of 32) and 1.0 (5 of 5); and 0.55 (23 of 42) and 0.83 (31 of 37), respectively. Lesion size (≥2 cm) and delayed enhancing rim, as main features and their interaction, were the most significant predictors of HCC.

Conclusion:

Delayed hypointensity and enhancing rim improve the specificity of diagnosis of HCC of all sizes but are seen less frequently in small (<2 cm) HCC. Nodule size (≥2 cm) and delayed enhancing rim are the strongest predictors of HCC. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2010;32:360–366. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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