Published online Dec 14, 2009. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.5805
Revised: October 26, 2009
Accepted: November 2, 2009
Published online: December 14, 2009
AIM: To evaluate the utility of diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) in screening and differential diagnosis of benign and malignant focal hepatic lesions.
METHODS: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations were performed using the Signa Excite Xl Twin Speed 1.5T system (GE Healthcare, Milwaukee, WI, USA). Seventy patients who had undergone MRI of the liver [29 hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC), four cholangiocarcinomas, 34 metastatic liver cancers, 10 hemangiomas, and eight cysts] between April 2004 and August 2008 were retrospectively evaluated. Visualization of lesions, relative contrast ratio (RCR), and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) were compared between benign and malignant lesions on DWI. Superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) was administered to 59 patients, and RCR was compared pre- and post-administration.
RESULTS: DWI showed higher contrast between malignant lesions (especially in multiple small metastatic cancers) and surrounding liver parenchyma than did contrast-enhanced computed tomography. ADCs (mean ± SD × 10-3 mm2/s) were significantly lower (P < 0.05) in malignant lesions (HCC: 1.31 ± 0.28 and liver metastasis: 1.11 ± 0.22) and were significantly higher in benign lesions (hemangioma: 1.84 ± 0.37 and cyst: 2.61 ± 0.45) than in the surrounding hepatic tissues. RCR between malignant lesions and surrounding hepatic tissues significantly improved after SPIO administration, but RCRs in benign lesions were not improved.
CONCLUSION: DWI is a simple and sensitive method for screening focal hepatic lesions and is useful for differential diagnosis.