Retrospective validation of a new diagnostic criterion for hepatocellular carcinoma on gadoxetic acid-enhanced MRI: can hypointensity on the hepatobiliary phase be used as an alternative to washout with the aid of ancillary features?

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Abstract

Objectives: To validate new diagnostic criteria for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) on gadoxetic acid-enhanced MR imaging (Gd-EOB-MRI) using hypointensity on the hepatobiliary phase (HBP) as an alternative to washout in combination with ancillary features. Methods: This retrospective study included 288 patients at high risk for HCC with 387 nodules (HCCs, n=292; non-HCCs, n=95) showing arterial phase hyper-enhancement (APHE) ≥1 cm on Gd-EOB-MRI. Imaging diagnoses of HCCs were made using different criteria: APHE plus hypointensity on the portal venous phase (PVP) (criterion 1), APHE plus hypointensity on the PVP and/or transitional phase (TP) (criterion 2), APHE plus hypointensity on the PVP and/or TP and/or HBP (criterion 3), and criterion 3 plus non-LR-1/2/M according to the Liver Imaging Reporting and Data System (LI-RADS) v2017 considering ancillary features (criterion 4). Sensitivities and specificities of those criteria were compared using McNemar’s test. Results: Among diagnostic criteria for HCCs, criteria 3 and 4 showed significantly higher sensitivities (93.8% and 92.5%, respectively) than criteria 1 and 2 (70.9% and 86.6%, respectively) (p values <0.001). The specificity of criterion 4 (87.4%) was shown to be significantly higher than that of criterion 3 (48.4%, p<0.001), albeit comparable to criterion 2 (86.3%, p>0.999) and significantly lower than criterion 1 (97.9%, p=0.002). Conclusions: In the non-invasive diagnosis of HCCs on Gd-EOB-MRI, HBP hypointensity may be used as an alternative to washout enabling a highly sensitive diagnosis with little loss in specificity if it is used after excluding nodules considered to be benignities or non-HCC malignancies based on characteristic imaging features. Key Points: • Gd-EOB-MRI enhancement and ancillary features can be used to diagnose HCC. • Exclusion of LR-1/2/M improves specificity when HBP hypointensity is used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1724-1732
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Radiology
Volume29
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019

Keywords

  • Carcinoma, hepatocellular
  • Liver
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Practice guideline

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