CT appearances of post-radiation livers in patients with unresectable cholangiocarcinoma

J Med Assoc Thai. 2012 Feb;95(2):221-8.


Objective: To characterize the computed tomographic (CT) findings of post-radiation livers and the interval changes in patients with unresectable cholangiocarcinoma.

Material and method: Thirteen patients with unresectable cholangiocarcinoma who received concurrent chemoradiation with conformal radiotherapy technique (50 to 66 Gy, 2 Gy/fraction) were included in the present study. CT at pre-radiation and sequential follow-up at 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months were retrospectively reviewed by two abdominal radiologists to identify CT characteristics of post-radiation liver and the interval changes.

Results: CT at pre-radiation and sequential follow-up at 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months were available in 92.3%, 100%, 76.9%, 53.8%, 30.8% and 23.1%, respectively. Post-radiation livers showed sharply-delineated, hypodense radiation areas, which were well related with the isodose line of 35 to 56 Gy (mean = 44.4 +/- 6.55 Gy). These radiation areas were mostly appreciated on portal venous phase at 1-month follow-up study in 12 of 13 (92.3%) patients and these were gradually less defined in subsequent studies. Progressive decrease size of radiation areas with persistent enhancement on delayed phase images were recognized. Progression of hepatic cortical irregularity was seen in four (30.8%) patients, as well as pulmonary fibrosis of lung bases.

Conclusion: Post-radiation liver in patients with unresectable cholangiocarcinoma showed a sharply-defined, hypodense radiation area, which was mostly appreciated in 1-month follow-up CT and was gradually less defined in subsequent studies with evidence of progressive atrophic change.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / therapy
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic / diagnostic imaging*
  • Chemoradiotherapy
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging*
  • Liver / injuries*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiation Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy, Conformal
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*