Diagnostic evaluation and ablation treatments assessment in hepatocellular carcinoma

Infect Agent Cancer. 2021 Jul 19;16(1):53. doi: 10.1186/s13027-021-00393-0.


This article provides an overview of diagnostic evaluation and ablation treatment assessment in Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). Only studies, in the English language from January 2010 to January 202, evaluating the diagnostic tools and assessment of ablative therapies in HCC patients were included. We found 173 clinical studies that satisfied the inclusion criteria.HCC may be noninvasively diagnosed by imaging findings. Multiphase contrast-enhanced imaging is necessary to assess HCC. Intravenous extracellular contrast agents are used for CT, while the agents used for MRI may be extracellular or hepatobiliary. Both gadoxetate disodium and gadobenate dimeglumine may be used in hepatobiliary phase imaging. For treatment-naive patients undergoing CT, unenhanced imaging is optional; however, it is required in the post treatment setting for CT and all MRI studies. Late arterial phase is strongly preferred over early arterial phase. The choice of modality (CT, US/CEUS or MRI) and MRI contrast agent (extracelllar or hepatobiliary) depends on patient, institutional, and regional factors. MRI allows to link morfological and functional data in the HCC evaluation. Also, Radiomics is an emerging field in the assessment of HCC patients.Postablation imaging is necessary to assess the treatment results, to monitor evolution of the ablated tissue over time, and to evaluate for complications. Post- thermal treatments, imaging should be performed at regularly scheduled intervals to assess treatment response and to evaluate for new lesions and potential complications.

Keywords: Ablation treatment assessment; Computed tomography;magnetic resonance imaging; HCC; Radiomics; Ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Review