Objective: To illustrate the cytologic features of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after percutaneous acetic acid injection (PAI) and to correlate the cytologic findings with helical computed tomography (CT) findings.
Study design: The study included 30 patients with 37 HCC who had undergone PAI. Baseline cytomorphology of HCC was evaluated by needle aspiration in all cases. PAI under ultrasound guidance was done every three to seven days. Upon completion of PAI, fine needle aspiration cytology was performed and followed by helical CT within two weeks. The degeneration of HCC after PAI was classified into two grades. Grade 1 showed incomplete degeneration (99% of nuclear area); grade 2 showed complete degeneration or severe degeneration with cell debris or amorphous material only. The specimens were stained with Riu's method (Romanowsky system).
Results: The cytologic changes after PAI included decreased cell number, reduced cellular aggregation, degeneration of cytoplasm and nucleus, and eosinophilic or basophilic background in all tumors. In all the 37 tumors without enhancement on helical CT, grade 2 degeneration was detected.
Conclusion: Our results reveal that grade 2 degeneration alone, demonstrated cytologically, could indicate almost complete necrosis of HCC after PAI, probably implying no need for booster PAI.