Objective To evaluate the accuracy of CT for small, hypervascular hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) and assess the enhancement patterns on CT. Materials and methods Ninety-nine patients who underwent cone-beam CT hepatic arteriography (CBCT-HA) during initial chemoembolization for HCC suspected on CT were enrolled in this study. A total of 297 hypervascular HCCs (142 1 cm, 155 < 1 cm) were confirmed as HCCs based on two-year follow-up CT and CBCT-HA images. During the two-year follow-up, pre-existing hypervascular foci on CBCT-HA were regarded as HCCs at the initial presentation. Two radiologists categorized HCCs according to the following enhancement patterns on CT: type I, arterial enhancement and washout; type II, arterial enhancement without washout; and type III, no arterial enhancement. Two blinded reviewers rated the possibility of HCC. Results For the 297 HCCs, the enhancement patterns according to size were as follows: type I 1 cm in 114 HCCs; type I <1 cm in 40 HCCs; type II 1 cm in 16 HCCs; type II <1 cm in 37 HCCs; type III 1 cm in 12 HCCs; and type III <1 cm in 10 HCCs. The remaining 68 HCCs (22.9%) were not detected on CT. The detection rates of HCCs 1 cm were 83.1%, 76.8%, and 83.1% in the formal report for reviewer 1 and reviewer 2. In comparison, the detection rates of HCCs < 1 cm were 20.6%, 17.4%, and 17.4% in the formal report for reviewer 1 and reviewer 2. Conclusion Many subcentimeter sized hypervascular HCCs were frequently missed or not evident on CT at the initial diagnostic workup. CT has limitations for diagnosing HCCs that are <1 cm in size or have atypical enhancement patterns.
Choi, Y. R., Chung, J. W., Yu, M. H., Lee, M., & Kim, J. H. (2018). Diagnostic accuracy of contrast-enhanced dynamic CT for small hypervascular hepatocellular carcinoma and assessment of dynamic enhancement patterns: Results of two-year follow-up using cone-beam CT hepatic arteriography. PLoS ONE, 13(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0203940