Spiral computed tomography versus ultrasound in the follow-up of cirrhotic patients previously treated for hepatocellular carcinoma: A prospective study

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Abstract

Background/Aims: To assess the value of hepatic-arterial-phase computed tomography (HAP-CT) versus ultrasound (US) plus α-fetoprotein (AFP) in the surveillance of cirrhotic patients with previously treated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Methods: Thirty-six cirrhotic patients, treated for single nodular HCC < 4 cm with complete response and no evidence of other focal lesions, were enrolled in a prospective study and underwent simultaneous AFP/US/spiral-CT follow-up every 6 months. Focal lesions were considered recurrences when they appeared as globular enhancement areas (EA) at HAP-CT and increased in size during the follow-up. Results: Fifteen of 36 patients showed at least one focal lesion for a total of 43 EA: 38/43 increased in size, four did not change and one disappeared. EA were first observed after a follow-up of 9 ± 4 (range 6-18) months. At the same time, no patient had either nodular lesion at US examination or diagnostic levels of AFP. In 22 matched lesions, diagnosis by CT was 8.2 ± 3.5 months earlier than by US. In 13 patients, one evolved EA was submitted to US-guided biopsy and histological examination showed HCC in all cases. Conclusions: Periodical spiral-CT examination is more effective than US-AFP in early detection of HCC recurrence in cirrhotic patients successfully treated for HCC. © 2003 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

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Colagrande, S., La Villa, G., Bartolucci, M., Lanini, F., Barletta, G., & Villari, N. (2003). Spiral computed tomography versus ultrasound in the follow-up of cirrhotic patients previously treated for hepatocellular carcinoma: A prospective study. Journal of Hepatology, 39(1), 93–98. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0168-8278(03)00159-4

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