Objective: To evaluate the three-phase helical CT features of early hepatocellular carcinomas, based on the new Japanese classification. Materials and Methods: Over the course of an eight-year period, we collected 16 pathologically proven early hepatocellular carcinomas from 16 patients having undergone a three-phase helical CT prior to surgery. The three-phase CT images were acquired at 20 35 sec (arterial phase), 70 sec (portal phase), and 180 sec (equilibrium phase) from the begining of intravenous injection of contrast material. All the CT images were retrospectively analyzed by two radiologists in consensus, based on their description of morphologic (size, margin, fibrous capsule and mosaic pattern) and enhancement patterns of tumors. Results: Only seven (44%) of the 16 early hepatocellular carcinomas having undergone a CT were described (mean diameter, 1.2 cm; range, 0.4 2.5 cm). All the tumors had an ill-defined margin with no fibrous capsule. The mosaic pattern was found in only one tumor. Only three (43%) of the seven tumors detected on CT were hyperattenuating during the arterial phase. The four remaining tumors (25%) were hypoattenuating throughout the three phases. Conclusion: Despite the higher resolution provided by the three phase scans, the contrast-enhanced CT provides only limited detection of the variable morphologic and enhancement features of early hepatocellular carcinomas.
- Computed tomography (CT)
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
- Liver neoplasms
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging