The Presence of Portal Vein Thrombosis Alters the Classic Enhancement Associated with Diagnosis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Nadia K. Umar, Maaz B. Badshah, Kumar Sandrasegaran, Marwan Ghabril, Saurabh Agarwal, Mark Tann, Marco Lacerda, Paul Y. Kwo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Aims: To determine whether the presence of portal vein thrombosis (PVT) where venous flow within the liver may be altered may delay the diagnosis of HCC and be associated with more advanced disease. We characterized the incidence and imaging characteristics of patients diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma in a cohort of patients with PVT compared with those without PVT. Methods: This is a single-center retrospective study of a subset of HCC patients who underwent dynamic imaging for HCC screening and were found to have PVT. Data abstracted included demographic data, TNM stage, number/type of scans, AFP level, MELD score, and time to diagnosis. Results: Eighty-two patients newly diagnosed with HCC on screening were reviewed, of which 37 % (30/82) were found to have portal vein thrombosis. Patients with PVT had higher rates of atypical imaging associated with HCC compared with those without PVT (83 vs 56 %, p = 0.01) and had lower rates of portal venous washout (23 % vs 50 %, p = 0.018). Patients with PVT and HCC were also diagnosed at later TNM stage than those without PVT (70 vs 23 %, p < 0.001) and were significantly less likely to receive orthotopic liver transplant (3.6 vs 42 %, p < 0.001). Fourteen patients had preexisting PV clot without HCC; 16 developed PVT during screening or at diagnosis. Those with preexisting PVT were older (63. vs 55 years) and had higher rates of diagnosis of HCC using MRI (79 vs 21 % with CT, p = 0.01), compared with those without preexisting PVT. Conclusion: The presence of PVT found on dynamic imaging was associated with advanced stage of HCC at the time of diagnosis. Clinicians should have a high suspicion for HCC diagnosis in new liver lesions with atypical enhancement in the setting of PVT. In this setting, MRI was more frequently associated with HCC diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2196-2200
Number of pages5
JournalDigestive diseases and sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 13 2015


  • Cirrhosis
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Portal vein thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology
  • Medicine(all)

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