European Journal of Radiology, Vol.81(10) : 2507~2512, 2012
OBJECTIVES: Detection of hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) before microvascular invasion (MVI) occurs is important due to the poor outcomes associated with MVI. We retrospectively investigated the imaging features of small HCCs with MVI on gadoxetic acid-enhanced MR imaging.
METHODS: Fifty patients (40 men and 10 women; mean age, 54 years) with 58 surgically proven small (2 cm or less) HCCs were evaluated by gadoxetic acid-enhanced MRI. Signal intensities on imaging sequences and the presence of the typical dynamic enhancement pattern (arterial enhancement and washout) were assessed. Fisher's exact tests were performed to evaluate the relationships between the presence of MVI, tumor size, and imaging findings.
RESULTS: None of the 12 small HCCs with diameters of 1cm or less had MVI, while 15 (33%) of the 46 small HCCs with diameters of 1.1-2.0 cm had MVI (p=0.025, Fisher's exact test). Among the small HCCs with diameters of 1.1-2.0 cm, all HCCs with MVI showed the typical dynamic pattern and hyperintensity on T2- and diffusion-weighted images. Most HCCs (54 lesions, 93%) were hypointense on hepatobiliary phase images regardless of the presence of MVI.
CONCLUSIONS: All small HCCs with MVI showed typical dynamic pattern and hyperintensity on T2-weighted and diffusion-weighted images, while atypical dynamic pattern and size of less than 1cm in diameter may suggest absence of MVI.