Date: 23 Jul 2014

Non-hypervascular hypointense nodules on Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI as a predictor of outcomes for early-stage HCC

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Abstract

Background/purpose

In patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), gadolinium-ethoxybenzyl-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (Gd-EOB-DTPA)-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) often identifies non-hypervascular hypointense hepatic nodules during the hepatobiliary phase, but their prognostic significance is unclear. We conducted a prospective observational study to investigate the impact of non-hypervascular hypointense hepatic nodules detected by Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI on the outcome of patients with early-stage HCC.

Methods

Post-treatment recurrence and survival rates were analyzed in 138 patients with non-recurrent, early-stage HCC [Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) stage 0 or A] and Child-Pugh A liver function according to the presence of non-hypervascular hypointense nodules on pretreatment Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI.

Results

Non-hypervascular hypointense hepatic nodules were detected in 51 (37.0 %) patients with early-stage HCC on pretreatment Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI. Recurrence rates were significantly higher in patients with non-hypervascular hypointense nodules (p < 0.0001). Based on a multivariate analysis, the presence of non-hypervascular hypointense hepatic nodules on Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI was independently associated with an increased recurrence rate, independent of tumor progression or treatment (p = 0.0005). The survival rate was significantly lower in patients with non-hypervascular hypointense nodules on Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI (p = 0.0108).

Conclusions

In patients with early-stage typical HCC (BCLC 0 or A), the presence of concurrent non-hypervascular hypointense hepatic nodules in the hepatobiliary phase of pretreatment Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MRI is an indicator of higher likelihood of recurrence after treatment and may be a marker for unfavorable outcome.