Imaging of liver cancer

World J Gastroenterol. 2009 Mar 21;15(11):1289-300. doi: 10.3748/wjg.15.1289.


Improvements in imaging technology allow exploitation of the dual blood supply of the liver to aid in the identification and characterisation of both malignant and benign liver lesions. Imaging techniques available include contrast enhanced ultrasound, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. This review discusses the application of several imaging techniques in the diagnosis and staging of both hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma and outlines certain characteristics of benign liver lesions. The advantages of each imaging technique are highlighted, while underscoring the potential pitfalls and limitations of each imaging modality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cholangiocarcinoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Contrast Media
  • Hepatocytes / diagnostic imaging
  • Hepatocytes / pathology
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / diagnostic imaging
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / pathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Ultrasonography / adverse effects
  • Ultrasonography / methods


  • Contrast Media