Magnetic resonance imaging of hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) was performed before and after transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE). The changes of tumor signal intensity were compared to residual tumor or tumor recurrence in the follow-up period.Materials and Methods
Fifteen cirrhotic patients with HCC were studied. All patients were examined with MRI both before and 3 months after TACE. Requirement for the study was that all lesions were detectable by MR before TACE.Results
Magnetic resonance imaging detected 31 tumors. The changes of tumor signal intensity were compared to residual tumor or tumor recurrence in the follow-up period. On T1-weighted (T1W) images before TACE, 16 tumors were hyperintense, 11 were isointense, and 4 were hypointense; on T2W images, 26 tumors were hyperintense, 5 were isointense, and none were hypointense. On T1W images 3 months after TACE, 8 tumors were hyperintense, 18 were isointense, and 9 were hypointense; on T2W images, 11 were hyperintense, 11 were isointense, and 9 were hypointense. All the tumors that became hypointense on T2W images after TACE did not recur on follow-up. All lesions that were still hyperintense on T2W images after TACE showed residual tumor during the follow-up. Among 11 tumors that were isointense on T2W images after TACE, 7 were hyperintense on T2W images before TACE; 6 of these did not recur. Four tumors were isointense on T2W images before and after TACE; 2 of these showed residual tumor in the follow-up. On T2W images after TACE, 15 of 16 HCCs that decreased in signal intensity did not recur on follow-up. On T1W images no correlation was seen between the changes of the signal intensity of the lesion and tumor recurrence in the follow-up; however, 9 of 17 HCCs that did not recur after TACE showed decreased signal intensity. All the tumors (10 of 10) with decreased signal intensity on both T1W and T2W images after TACE did not show tumor recurrence on follow-up.Conclusion
The results suggest that MRI is useful in the assessment of the therapeutic effect of TACE in HCC.