Abdominal Radiology

, Volume 42, Issue 11, pp 2639–2645 | Cite as

Whole-volume vs. segmental CT texture analysis of the liver to assess metachronous colorectal liver metastases

  • R. C. J. Beckers
  • R. G. H. Beets-Tan
  • R. S. Schnerr
  • M. Maas
  • L. A. da Costa Andrade
  • G. L. Beets
  • C. H. Dejong
  • J. B. Houwers
  • D. M. J. LambregtsEmail author



It is unclear whether changes in liver texture in patients with colorectal cancer are caused by diffuse (e.g., perfusional) changes throughout the liver or rather based on focal changes (e.g., presence of occult metastases). The aim of this study is to compare a whole-liver approach to a segmental (Couinaud) approach for measuring the CT texture at the time of primary staging in patients who later develop metachronous metastases and evaluate whether assessing CT texture on a segmental level is of added benefit.


46 Patients were included: 27 patients without metastases (follow-up >2 years) and 19 patients who developed metachronous metastases within 24 months after diagnosis. Volumes of interest covering the whole liver were drawn on primary staging portal-phase CT. In addition, each liver segment was delineated separately. Mean gray-level intensity, entropy (E), and uniformity (U) were derived with different filters (σ0.5–2.5). Patients/segments without metastases and patients/segments that later developed metachronous metastases were compared using independent samples t tests.


Absolute differences in entropy and uniformity between the group without metastases and the group with metachronous metastases group were consistently smaller for the segmental approach compared to the whole-liver approach. No statistically significant differences were found in the texture measurements between both groups.


In this small patient cohort, we could not demonstrate a clear predictive value to identify patients at risk of developing metachronous metastases within 2 years. Segmental CT texture analysis of the liver probably has no additional benefit over whole-liver texture analysis.


Colorectal cancer Liver metastases CT texture Occult disease Metachronous metastases Micro metastases 


Compliance with ethical standards


No funding was received for this study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the international and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Due to the retrospective nature of the study informed consent was waived.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. C. J. Beckers
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • R. G. H. Beets-Tan
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. S. Schnerr
    • 3
  • M. Maas
    • 2
  • L. A. da Costa Andrade
    • 5
  • G. L. Beets
    • 1
    • 6
  • C. H. Dejong
    • 4
    • 7
    • 8
  • J. B. Houwers
    • 3
  • D. M. J. Lambregts
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.GROW School for Oncology and Developmental BiologyMaastricht University Medical CentreMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyThe Netherlands Cancer InstituteAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyMaastricht University Medical CenterMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of SurgeryMaastricht University Medical CenterMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Medical Imaging Department and Faculty of MedicineUniversity Hospital of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  6. 6.Department of SurgeryThe Netherlands Cancer InstituteAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  7. 7.NUTRIM School for Nutrition and Translational Research in MetabolismMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  8. 8.Department of SurgeryRWTH Universitätsklinikum AachenAachenGermany

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