Correlation of LI-RADS 3 or 4 Observations with Histopathologic Diagnosis in Patients with Cirrhosis

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2023 May;21(5):1351-1353.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2022.03.009. Epub 2022 Mar 17.


Patients with cirrhosis are high risk for developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and warrant surveillance using abdominal ultrasound and α-fetoprotein.1 Those with positive surveillance results should undergo diagnostic evaluation with multiphase computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The LI-RADS system is an evidence-based system to classify observations on CT or MRI in at-risk patients, ranging from LR-1 (definite benign) to LR-5 (definite HCC), with LR-3 and LR-4 observations being intermediate risk for HCC.2 LR-3 and LR-4 observations are observed on CT or MRI in more than one-fourth of patients undergoing HCC surveillance and have a high, yet variable, risk for progression to HCC.3 Approximately one-third of patients with LR-3 observations and more than two-thirds of LR-4 observations develop HCC, and surveillance strategies vary widely in practice.4,5 Variation in radiographic appearance and natural history of these observations suggests that this may be a heterogeneous group of patients; however, their histopathology has not been well described. Herein, we correlated imaging findings and explant histopathology from liver transplant recipients with at least 1 LR-3 or LR-4 observation on CT or MRI within 6 months preceding transplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / pathology
  • Contrast Media
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Contrast Media