Rationale and objectives: To apply perfusion computed tomography (CT) technique to variable malignant liver tumors, and to define the usefulness of quantitative color mapping.
Materials and methods: Perfusion CT images were created for 36 malignant liver tumors in 28 patients (age, 66.4 +/- 10.1 years; range, 48-85) with metastatic liver tumors (n = 17; nine colorectal carcinomas, eight other malignant tumors) and hepatocellular carcinomas (n = 11). A single-slice dynamic CT was performed after an intravenous bolus injection of 40 mL of contrast material (320 mgI/mL) with 8 mL/sec. The parameters were calculated pixel-by-pixel using maximum slope method, and quantitative maps of arterial and portal perfusion were created. In four patients who underwent transcatheter arterial chemoembolization, perfusion CT was performed before and after transcatheter arterial chemoembolization.
Results: In all patients, liver tumors were shown as hypervascular lesions on arterial perfusion CT. The average arterial perfusion value of the metastatic tumors from the colorectal carcinomas was 0.67 +/- 0.33 mL/min/mL, and that of hepatocellular carcinomas was 0.94 +/- 0.26 mL/min/mL (P = .03). The other metastatic tumors from various primary tumors showed a wide range (0.19-1.45 mL/min/mL) of arterial perfusion. Arterial perfusion of the liver tumors was obviously decreased after successful transcatheter arterial chemoembolization. In 12 of 15 tumors, in which portal perfusion CT images could be created, region-of-interest analysis showed no portal perfusion in the tumors. In two cases, decreased portal perfusion in the segments, which malignant tumors involved, was demonstrated.
Conclusion: Perfusion CT can provide quantitative information about arterial and portal perfusion of liver tumors, combined with good anatomic detail in one image. This technique has a potential to evaluate the angiogenesis of liver tumors, to show secondary changes in perfusion, such as decreased portal perfusion in apparently normal liver adjacent to metastases, and to monitor the therapeutic response in vivo.