Original Article
Copyright ©2009 The WJG Press and Baishideng. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Dec 28, 2009; 15(48): 6044-6051
Published online Dec 28, 2009. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.6044
MRI versus 64-row MDCT for diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma
Michael Bernhard Pitton, Roman Kloeckner, Sascha Herber, Gerd Otto, Karl Friedrich Kreitner, Christoph Dueber
Michael Bernhard Pitton, Roman Kloeckner, Sascha Herber, Karl Friedrich Kreitner, Christoph Dueber, Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Johannes Gutenberg-University, Langenbeckstr. 1, 55131 Mainz, Germany
Gerd Otto, Department of Transplantation and Hepatobiliopancreatic Surgery, University of Mainz, Langenbeckstr. 1, 55131 Mainz, Germany
Author contributions: Pitton MB and Herber S read the CT and MRI scans; Pitton MB and Kloeckner R wrote the paper; Kreitner KF implemented the MRI protocol and conducted the scans; Otto G performed the liver transplantations; Dueber C was the supervisor, provided the resources and made the project possible.
Correspondence to: Michael Bernhard Pitton, Professor of Radiology, Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Johannes Gutenberg-University, Langenbeckstr. 1, 55131 Mainz, Germany. pitton@radiologie.klinik.uni-mainz.de
Telephone: +49-6131-172057 Fax: +49-6131-176633
Received: June 30, 2009
Revised: August 31, 2009
Accepted: September 7, 2009
Published online: December 28, 2009

AIM: To compare the diagnostic capability of multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the detection of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tumour nodules and their effect on patient management.

METHODS: A total of 28 patients (25 male, 3 female, mean age 67 ± 10.8 years) with biopsy-proven HCC were investigated with 64-row MDCT (slice 3 mm native, arterial and portal-venous phase, 120 mL Iomeprol, 4 mL/s, delay by bolus trigger) and MRI (T1fs fl2d TE/TR 2.72/129 ms, T2tse TE/TR 102/4000 ms, 5-phase dynamic contrast-enhanced T1fs fl3d TE/TR 1.56/4.6, Gadolinium-DTPA, slice 4 mm). Consensus reading of both modalities was used as reference. Tumour nodules were analyzed with respect to number, size, and location.

RESULTS: In total, 162 tumour nodules were detected by consensus reading. MRI detected significantly more tumour nodules (159 vs 123, P < 0.001) compared to MDCT, with the best sensitivity for early arterial phase MRI. False-negative CT findings included nodules ≤ 5 mm ( n = 5), ≤ 10 mm ( n = 17), ≤ 15 mm ( n = 12 ), ≤ 20 mm ( n = 4 ), and 1 nodule > 20 mm. MRI missed 2 nodules ≤ 10 mm and 1 nodule ≤ 15 mm. On MRI, nodule diameters were greater than on CT (29.2 ± 25.1 mm, range 5-140 mm vs 24.1 ± 22.7 mm, range 4-129 mm, P < 0.005). In 2 patients, MDCT showed only unilobar tumour spread, whereas MRI revealed additional nodules in the contralateral lobe. Detection of these nodules could have changed the therapeutic strategy.

CONCLUSION: Contrast-enhanced MRI is superior to 64-row MDCT for the detection of HCC nodules. Patients should be allocated to interventional or operative treatment according to a dedicated MRI-protocol.

Keywords: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, European Association for the Study of the Liver, Hepatocellular carcinoma, Multidetector computed tomography, Magnetic resonance imaging