Korean J Radiol.  2021 May;22(5):725-734. 10.3348/kjr.2020.1143.

Intraindividual Comparison of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Washout between MRIs with Hepatobiliary and Extracellular Contrast Agents

  • 1Department of Radiology and Center for Imaging Science, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Mathematics, Ajou University, Suwon, Korea.


To intraindividually compare hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) washout between MRIs using hepatobiliary agent (HBA) and extracellular agent (ECA).
Materials and Methods
This study included 114 prospectively enrolled patients with chronic liver disease (mean age, 55 ± 9 years; 94 men) who underwent both HBA-MRI and ECA-MRI before surgical resection for HCC between November 2016 and May 2019. For 114 HCCs, the lesion-to-liver visual signal intensity ratio (SIR) using a 5-point scale (-2 to +2) was evaluated in each phase. Washout was defined as negative visual SIR with temporal reduction of visual SIR from the arterial phase. Illusional washout (IW) was defined as a visual SIR of 0 with an enhancing capsule. The frequency of washout and MRI sensitivity for HCC using LR-5 or its modifications were compared between HBA-MRI and ECA-MRI. Subgroup analysis was performed according to lesion size (< 20 mm or ≥ 20 mm).
The frequency of portal venous phase (PP) washout with HBA-MRI was comparable to that of delayed phase (DP) washout with ECA-MRI (77.2% [88/114] vs. 68.4% [78/114]; p = 0.134). The frequencies were also comparable when IW was allowed (79.8% [91/114] for HBA-MRI vs. 81.6% [93/114] for ECA-MRI; p = 0.845). The sensitivities for HCC of LR-5 (using PP or DP washout) were comparable between HBA-MRI and ECA-MRI (78.1% [89/114] vs. 73.7% [84/114]; p = 0.458). In HCCs < 20 mm, the sensitivity of LR-5 was higher on HBA-MRI than on ECA-MRI (70.8% [34/48] vs. 50.0% [24/48]; p = 0.034). The sensitivity was similar to each other if IW was added to LR-5 (72.9% [35/48] for HBA-MRI vs. 70.8% [34/48] for ECA-MRI; p > 0.999).
Extracellular phase washout for HCC diagnosis was comparable between MRIs with both contrast agents, except for tumors < 20 mm. Adding IW could improve the sensitivity for HCC on ECA-MRI in tumors < 20 mm.


Gadoxetic acid; Extracellular contrast; Magnetic resonance imaging; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Washout
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