Abdominal Imaging

, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 1202–1212 | Cite as

Histological grade of hepatocellular carcinoma correlates with arterial enhancement on gadoxetic acid-enhanced and diffusion-weighted MR images

  • Wei-Chou Chang
  • Ran-Chou Chen
  • Chen-Te Chou
  • Chun-Yi Lin
  • Chih-Yung Yu
  • Chang-Hsien Liu
  • Jung-Mao Chou
  • Hsian-He Hsu
  • Guo-Shu Huang



To retrospectively determine the correlation between heptic tumor signal intensity on gadoxetic acid-enhanced and diffusion-weighted MR images and histopathological grading of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


We retrospectively reviewed the MR images of 79 patients with 141 surgically resected HCCs. The signal intensity and its relationship with histopathological grade were assessed. We measured the apparent diffusion correlation (ADC) values and calculated arterial enhancement ratios, washout ratios, and relative intensity ratios of HCCs relative to the surrounding liver parenchyma in gadoxetic-enhanced MR images in order to determine their relationship to the histological grade.


Morphological evaluation showed that larger tumor size and extrahepatic extension were associated with higher histologic grade (p < 0.01). Multivariate logistic regression showed that low ADC value and low relative intensity ratio in the arterial phase (RIRa) predict high histological grade. ADC value (cut-off 1.7 × 10−3 mm2/s, sensitivity 82.4%, specificity 83.2%) was the best predictor of well-differentiated HCC, and RIRa (cut-off 0.93, sensitivity 81.4%, specificity 93.9%) was superior to ADC for predicting poorly differentiated HCC.


Relative low arterial enhancement on gadoxetic acid-enhanced MR images and low ADC are predictive of worse histological grades of HCC.


Hepatocellular carcinoma Histological grading Gadoxetic acid-enhanced hepatobiliary phase Magnetic resonance imaging Diffusion-weighted imaging 



We would like to give special thanks to Benjamin Yeh, MD, from the University of California, San Francisco, for his guidance and help. We also thank the Research Office for Health Data, Department of Education and Research, Taipei City Hospital, Taiwan for their valuable contributions in data management and statistical analysis. This research was supported by the National Science Council Grant (NSC 100-2314-B-010-012-MY2) and Tri-Service General Hospital Research Grant (TSGH-C101-053).

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei-Chou Chang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ran-Chou Chen
    • 1
    • 3
  • Chen-Te Chou
    • 1
    • 4
  • Chun-Yi Lin
    • 1
  • Chih-Yung Yu
    • 2
  • Chang-Hsien Liu
    • 2
  • Jung-Mao Chou
    • 5
  • Hsian-He Hsu
    • 2
  • Guo-Shu Huang
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical Imaging and Radiological SciencesNational Yang-Ming Medical UniversityTaipeiTaiwan, ROC
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyTri-Service General Hospital and National Defense Medical CenterTaipeiTaiwan, ROC
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyTaipei City HospitalTaipeiTaiwan, ROC
  4. 4.Department of RadiologyChang-Hua Christian HospitalChanghuaTaiwan, ROC
  5. 5.Department of PathologyTaipei City HospitalTaipeiTaiwan, ROC

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