Aim: To assess the role of the hepatocellular phase on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) following gadobenate in characterizing the grade of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in cirrhotic patients. Materials and methods: A retrospective review of the MRI database from October 2004 to February 2009, performed for this Institutional Review Board-approved and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-complaint study, revealed 237 cirrhotic patients with focal liver lesions. Patients who had both a hepatocellular phase after gadobenate and pathological confirmation of HCC were included. Forty-six patients with 73 HCC were analysed independently by two reviewers for signal characteristics. Absolute contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) and enhancement ratio (ER) were calculated. Univariate analysis, stepwise logistic regression analysis, and receiver operating characteristic curves (ROC) were performed. Results: The mean age was 61.3 years (range 45 to 78 years). There were 11 females and 35 males, who had 22 well-differentiated (WD HCC), 35 moderately-differentiated (MD HCC), and 16 poorly-differentiated (PD HCC) hepatocellular carcinomas. On visual analysis of the hepatocellular phase, a hyperintense or isointense lesion had a sensitivity and specificity of 45% and 76%, respectively, for WD HCC. On quantitative analysis, the only significant predictor of the grade of HCC was the ER on the hepatocellular phase (p = 0.019 and 0.001 for the two reviewers in logistic regression model). On ROC analysis, an ER of >13% was 47% sensitive and 89% specific in predicting WD HCC histology. Conclusion: Although the hepatocellular phase of gadobenate may help to differentiate some cases of WD HCC from the more aggressive grades, there is overlap between the different grades on qualitative and quantitative analysis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging