Diagnostic accuracy of MRI in differentiating hepatocellular adenoma from focal nodular hyperplasia: prospective study of the additional value of gadoxetate disodium

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2012 Jul;199(1):26-34. doi: 10.2214/AJR.11.7750.


Objective: The purpose of this article is to prospectively determine the sensitivity of hepatobiliary phase gadoxetate disodium-enhanced MRI combined with standard MRI in differentiating focal nodular hyperplasia (FNH) from hepatocellular adenoma (HCA).

Subjects and methods: Patients suspected of having FNH or HCA larger than 2 cm underwent gadoxetate disodium-enhanced MRI. Standard MRI was evaluated separately from the additional hepatobiliary phase by two blinded radiologists. For the largest lesion in each patient, findings were compared with histologic diagnosis. Sensitivity, positive predictive value (PPV), and distinctive features were analyzed using McNemar and analysis of variance tests.

Results: Fifty-two patients completed the study. Histologic diagnosis revealed 24 HCAs and 28 FNHs. Characterization on standard MRI was inconclusive in 40% (21/52) and conclusive in 60% (31/52) of lesions. The sensitivity of standard MRI for HCA was 50% (12/24) with a PPV of 100% (12/12). The sensitivity for FNH was 68% (19/28) with a PPV of 95% (18/19). After review of hepatobiliary phase, the sensitivity for HCA improved to 96% (23/24) with a PPV of 96% (23/24). The sensitivity for FNH improved to 96% (27/28) with a PPV of 96% (27/28). Features with significant predictive value for diagnosis in HCA included bleeding (p < 0.001), fat (p = 0.010), and glycogen (p = 0.024). The presence of a central scar was predictive for FNH (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: This study shows high sensitivity of gadoxetate disodium-enhanced MRI when standard series are combined with the hepatobiliary phase for differentiation of FNH and HCA in lesions larger than 2 cm.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma, Liver Cell / diagnosis*
  • Adenoma, Liver Cell / pathology
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biopsy
  • Contrast Media
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Focal Nodular Hyperplasia / diagnosis*
  • Focal Nodular Hyperplasia / pathology
  • Gadolinium DTPA*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Liver / cytology
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reference Values
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Young Adult


  • Contrast Media
  • gadolinium ethoxybenzyl DTPA
  • Gadolinium DTPA