RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Prognostic role of magnetic resonance imaging vs. computed tomography for hepatocellular carcinoma undergoing chemoembolization.

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) play important roles in diagnosis and staging of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, prognostic roles of radiological characteristics are not yet determined.

METHODS: Eighty-eight patients treated with chemoembolization were analysed. Radiological parameters at baseline were assessed in all patients using both dynamic CT and MRI. Treatment responses were assessed using modified RECIST 4 weeks after the first chemoembolization.

RESULTS: Gross vascular invasion (GVI), bile duct invasion, irregular tumour margin (ITM), peripheral ragged enhancement (PRE) and satellite nodules on CT or MRI were associated with non-response (stable disease or progression) after chemoembolization respectively (all P ≤ 0.05). GVI, ITM and PRE on CT or MRI were also independently associated with poor overall survival (OS) respectively (all P ≤ 0.05). Using these results, a prognostic scoring system for CT and MRI were developed; 0, absence of all three features (GVI, ITM and PRE); 1, presence of one feature; 2, presence of two features; and 3, presence of three features. After adjusting tumour size, tumour number and alpha-foetoprotein level, both CT and MRI scores were independently associated with OS (both P < 0.001). Patients with CT or MRI score ≥2 had a worse OS than those with score <2 (adjusted hazard ratios, 3.837 and 2.938 respectively). MRI-specific parameters such as signal intensity on T2- or T1-weighted images, fat signal or hyperintensity on diffusion-weighted images did not have prognostic value (all P > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Radiological parameters by CT and MRI may be useful in biological characterization of tumours and prognostification for HCC treated with chemoembolization.

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