, Volume 20, Issue 10, pp 2405-2413
Date: 19 May 2010

Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced magnetic resonance images of hepatocellular carcinoma: correlation with histological grading and portal blood flow

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To retrospectively investigate enhancement patterns of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and dysplastic nodule (DN) in the hepatobiliary phase of gadolinium-ethoxybenzyl-diethylenetriamine (Gd-EOB-DTPA)-enhanced MRI in relation to histological grading and portal blood flow.


Sixty-nine consecutive patients with 83 histologically proven HCCs and DNs were studied. To assess Gd-EOB-DTPA uptake, we calculated the EOB enhancement ratio, which is the ratio of the relative intensity of tumorous lesion to surrounding nontumorous area on hepatobiliary phase images (post-contrast EOB ratio) to that on unenhanced images (pre-contrast EOB ratio). Portal blood flow was evaluated by CT during arterial portography.


Post-contrast EOB ratios significantly decreased as the degree of differentiation declined in DNs (1.00 ± 0.14) and well, moderately and poorly differentiated HCCs (0.79 ± 0.19, 0.60 ± 0.27, 0.49 ± 0.10 respectively). Gd-EOB-DTPA uptake, assessed by EOB enhancement ratios, deceased slightly in DNs and still more in HCCs, while there was no statistical difference in the decrease between different histological grades of HCC. Reductions in portal blood flow were observed less frequently than decreases in Gd-EOB-DTPA uptake in DNs and well-differentiated HCCs.


Reduced Gd-EOB-DTPA uptake might be an early event of hepatocarcinogenesis, preceding portal blood flow reduction. The hepatobiliary phase of Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI may help estimate histological grading, although difficulties exist in differentiating HCCs from DNs.