Heterogeneity of non-cancerous liver parenchyma on gadoxetic acid-enhanced MRI: An imaging biomarker for hepatocellular carcinoma development in chronic liver disease

Y. Asayama, A. Nishie, K. Ishigami, Y. Ushijima, Y. Takayama, D. Okamoto, N. Fujita, K. Morita, M. Obara, H. Honda

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Aim To clarify whether the heterogeneity of non-cancerous liver parenchyma (NLP) in the hepatobiliary phase on gadoxetic acid enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is correlated with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development. Materials and methods Institutional review board approval was obtained, and the requirements for informed consent were waived for this retrospective study. The imaging characteristics of 84 patients with chronic liver disease who underwent gadoxetic acid-enhanced 3T MRI between January 2013 and October 2014 were examined retrospectively. For the evaluation of the heterogeneity of the intensity in the hepatobiliary phase, the largest possible region of interest was placed on the NLP, and the skewness and kurtosis were calculated using ImageJ software. Skewness is the degree of asymmetry of a histogram, and kurtosis is a measure of the peak. Based on the median values of kurtosis and skewness, the patients were classified into four categories and the categories were compared between the 49 patients with HCC (HCC group) and the 35 patients without HCC (non-HCC group). Results Kurtosis was significantly higher in the HCC group compared to the non-HCC group (1.19±1.15 versus 0.43±0.83; p=0.0006). Skewness was significantly lower in the HCC group than in the non-HCC group (1.19±1.15 versus 0.43±0.83; p=0.0152). In a multivariate logistic analysis, the category showing lower-than-the-median (-0.1185) skewness and higher-than-the-median (0.547) kurtosis was significantly and independently associated with HCC development (p=0.0031). Conclusion The heterogeneity of NLP in the hepatobiliary phase on gadoxetic acid enhanced MRI may reflect the development of HCC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-437
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Radiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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