Biphasic Spiral Computed Tomography for Detection of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Before Resection or Orthotopic Liver Transplantation

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RATIONALE AND OBJECTIVES.The authors correlate computed tomography (CT) findings in biphasic spiral technique with histopathology in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who had undergone liver resection (LR) or orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT).METHODS.Preoperative biphasic spiral CT findings in 33 consecutive patients (23 men, 10 women, aged 43-74 years; LR group: n = 17; OLT group; n = 16) with liver cirrhosis and HCC were reviewed retrospectively by consensus of two radiologists and correlated with pathology from liver specimens.RESULTS.Of the 16 patients in the OLT group with 1 to 5 confirmed HCC lesions (total lesions: 29; mean lesion diameter: 2 cm; range: 0.6-5.0 cm), CT before OLT depicted 22 lesions in 15 patients (sensitivity for lesions with a diameter of 0.5-1.0 cm, 20%; for lesions 1.1-2.0 cm, 82%; and for lesions 2.1-3.0 cm and >3.0 cm, 86% and 100%, respectively). Among the 17 patients in the LR group (total lesions: 21; mean lesion diameter: 5.4 cm; range: 1.0-11.0 cm), CT detected 18 lesions. Lesion-by-lesion sensitivity, as correlated with pathology, was calculated at 76% and 86% in the OLT and LR groups, respectively (overall sensitivity, 80%). The diameter of CT detected lesions, compared with liver specimens, corresponded in 90% of lesions (maximum deviation, 15%). Characteristic CT findings of HCC included unenhanced hypoattenuating focal liver lesions (32 lesions), with hyperattenuation (38 lesions) in the arterial phase of contrast material administration.CONCLUSIONS.Biphasic spiral CT for preoperative HCC detection correlated with pathology in 80%, thus proving this technique to represent a sensitive imaging modality for pretherapeutic evaluation of HCC.

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