Korean J Radiol.  2021 Aug;22(8):1289-1299. 10.3348/kjr.2020.1394.

Usefulness of Arterial Subtraction in Applying Liver Imaging Reporting and Data System (LI-RADS) Treatment Response Algorithm to Gadoxetic Acid-Enhanced MRI

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Radiology, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Cancer Research Institute, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Radiology, Eunpyeong St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea

Abstract


Objective
We aimed to evaluate the usefulness of arterial subtraction images for predicting the viability of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after locoregional therapy (LRT) using gadoxetic acid-enhanced MRI and the Liver Imaging Reporting and Data System treatment response (LR-TR) algorithm.
Materials and Methods
This study included 90 patients (mean age ± standard deviation, 57 ± 9 years) who underwent liver transplantation or resection after LRT and had 73 viable and 32 nonviable HCCs. All patients underwent gadoxetic acid-enhanced MRI before surgery. Two radiologists assessed the presence of LR-TR features, including arterial phase hyperenhancement (APHE) and LR-TR categories (viable, nonviable, or equivocal), using ordinary arterial-phase and arterial subtraction images. The reference standard for tumor viability was surgical pathology. The sensitivity of APHE for diagnosing viable HCC was compared between ordinary arterial-phase and arterial subtraction images. The sensitivity and specificity of the LR-TR algorithm for diagnosing viable HCC was compared between the use of ordinary arterial-phase and the use of arterial subtraction images. Subgroup analysis was performed on lesions treated with transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) only.
Results
The sensitivity of APHE for viable HCCs was higher for arterial subtraction images than ordinary arterial-phase images (71.2% vs. 47.9%; p < 0.001). LR-TR viable category with the use of arterial subtraction images compared with ordinary arterial-phase images showed a significant increase in sensitivity (76.7% [56/73] vs. 63.0% [46/73]; p = 0.002) without significant decrease in specificity (90.6% [29/32] vs. 93.8% [30/32]; p > 0.999). In a subgroup of 63 lesions treated with TACE only, the use of arterial subtraction images showed a significant increase in sensitivity (81.4% [35/43] vs. 67.4% [29/43]; p = 0.031) without significant decrease in specificity (85.0% [17/20] vs. 90.0% [18/20]; p > 0.999).
Conclusion
Use of arterial subtraction images compared with ordinary arterial-phase images improved the sensitivity while maintaining specificity for diagnosing viable HCC after LRT using gadoxetic acid-enhanced MRI and the LR-TR algorithm.

Keyword

Hepatocellular carcinoma; Magnetic resonance imaging; Gadoxetic acid; Response assessment; Subtraction technique
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