The capabilities of computed tomography (CT), ultrasonography (US), and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging were studied in order to determine the role of each of these noninvasive examinations for estimating the T-factor of hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs). Fifty-one patients with surgically proven HCCs received CT (50 patients), US (46 patients), and MR (44 patients). The images of CT, US, and MR were prospectively evaluated for main tumor size, intrahepatic metastases, and vascular invasion, which compose the T-factor of HCC, and compared to pathological results. The sizes of the main tumor were estimated correctly by all examinations. For estimating intrahepatic metastases, US (74%) and MR (73%) were superior to CT (65%). For estimating portal invasion, CT (79%) was superior to US (70%) and MR (66%), because CT could demonstrate the segmental staining caused by portal invasion. The estimates of hepatic venous invasion were difficult during any of the examinations. We conclude that presurgical evaluations of the T-factor require the use of US and CT or MR and CT.
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