Purpose: To compare the response to transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) between hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with paradoxical uptake on the hepatobiliary phase (HBP) (HCCpara) and HCC with defect on the HBP (HCCdef), and to identify some imaging features that can differentiate between two groups.
Materials and methods: Ninety-three HCCs from 54 patients who underwent gadoxetic acid-enhanced liver magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) prior to TACE were included. HCCs were classified into two groups according to the signal intensity (SI) on the HBP: HCCpara and HCCdef. Using post-TACE computed tomography (CT) as a reference standard, initial compact lipiodol uptake was assessed and compared between groups. The arterial enhancement ratio (AER), SI ratios of the arterial phase and HBP, and presence of the capsule appearance were compared between groups. After initial response, local tumor recurrence within 6 and 18 months was evaluated based on follow-up CT or MRI.
Results: Fifteen HCCpara and 78 HCCdef were included. Compared to HCCdef, HCCpara showed more frequent initial compact lipiodol uptake (p=0.009), larger mean size (p=0.019), lower AER (p=0.005), higher SI ratio of the HBP (p<0.0001), and more frequent capsule appearance (p<0.0001). Local tumor recurrence rate within 6 months was also significantly lower in HCCpara than in HCCdef (p=0.008).
Conclusion: Despite larger size and lower AER, HCCpara showed more frequent initial compact lipiodol uptake and lower early local recurrence rate after TACE than did HCCdef.
Keywords: Gadoxetic acid; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Lipiodol uptake; Magnetic resonance imaging; Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization.
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