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Fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma: pre- and posttherapy evaluation with CT and MR imaging.

Radiology 2000 October
PURPOSE: To determine the features of advanced hepatic and extrahepatic fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) and their effects on immediate surgical management and tumor recurrence.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirty-one patients with fibrolamellar HCC underwent pretherapy computed tomography (CT); 11 underwent pretherapy magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. All 40 patients underwent posttherapy CT; four, follow-up MR imaging. Imaging, surgical, and histopathologic findings were correlated.

RESULTS: Twenty-five (81%) patients had solitary tumors (mean maximum diameter, 13 cm). Thirteen (42%) patients had intrahepatic biliary obstruction; 27 (87%) patients had involvement of the portal or hepatic veins. Thirteen (42%) had extrahepatic tumor spread, nine (29%) had distant metastases on pretherapy images, and 20 (65%) had lymphadenopathy. Thirty-two (80%) of 40 patients underwent exploration surgery; curative resection was attempted in 25 (62%), including four patients who underwent liver transplantation. Only 17 patients were considered to have had hepatic and extrahepatic tumors completely excised. Tumor recurred in all eight of the 17 patients who had extrahepatic disease at pretherapy CT and in four of the seven patients who seemed to have tumor limited to the liver. A combination of repeat tumor resection and adjuvant chemotherapy resulted in prolonged tumor-free survival in some cases.

CONCLUSION: Fibrolamellar HCC frequently demonstrates aggressive local invasion and nodal and distant metastases. Pretherapy and follow-up imaging are important for staging, surveillance, and optimal management. Aggressive surgical resection may be helpful to control fibrolamellar HCC and to prolong survival in appropriately selected cases.

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