Published online Dec 28, 2009. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.6044
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.