Washout on delayed phase (or equilibrium phase) imaging of an arterially hyperenhancing lesion is an excellent predictor of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The purpose of our study was to quantitatively define washout in pathologically proven HCC. A quantitative definition of HCC may minimize interobserver variability and facilitate more accurate diagnosis.We identified 47 liver lesions that were hyperenhancing in the arterial phase from 24 patients who underwent triphasic MDCT as part of preoperative evaluation for liver transplantation. All HCCs were pathologically proven. Regions of interest were obtained of lesions and areas of adjacent liver on arterial, portal venous, and delayed phase images. Enhancement profiles were assessed by three radiologists.Of the 47 hypervascular lesions, 14 HCCs were identified. There was a statistically significant difference in percentage attenuation ratio (defined as 100 × ratio of attenuation of adjacent liver to that of the lesion) between lesions that were HCC (median percentage attenuation ratio, 121) and those that were not (median percentage attenuation ratio, 101) on delayed phase. Percentage attenuation ratio = 107 on delayed phase imaging achieved maximal sensitivity (100%) with good specificity (75.8%), positive predictive value (PPV) (63.6%), and negative predictive value (NPV) (100%) in HCC detection. Percentage attenuation ratio also correlated well with radiologists' assessments of enhancement profiles of lesions (multinomial logistic regression McFadden R(2), 0.72; chi-square p, < 0.01).Our analysis of simple CT attenuation measurements indicates that percentage attenuation ratio offers excellent sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV for HCC detection and very good correlation with radiologists' assessments of washout.
View details for DOI 10.2214/AJR.11.7171
View details for PubMedID 23255745