Hepatocellular Carcinoma: State of the Art Imaging and Recent Advances

Patrick J Navin, Sudhakar K Venkatesh
Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology 2019 March 28, 7 (1): 72-85
The incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is increasing, with this trend expected to continue to the year 2030. Hepatocarcinogenesis follows a predictable course, which makes adequate identification and surveillance of at-risk individuals central to a successful outcome. Moreover, imaging is central to this surveillance, and ultimately to diagnosis and management. Many liver study groups throughout Asia, North America and Europe advocate a surveillance program for at-risk individuals to allow early identification of HCC. Ultrasound is the most commonly utilized imaging modality. Many societies offer guidelines on how to diagnose HCC. The Liver Image Reporting and Data System (LIRADS) was introduced to standardize the acquisition, interpretation, reporting and data collection of HCC cases. The LIRADS advocates diagnosis using multiphase computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) imaging. The 2017 version also introduces contrast-enhanced ultrasound as a novel approach to diagnosis. Indeed, imaging techniques have evolved to improve diagnostic accuracy and characterization of HCC lesions. Newer techniques, such as T1 mapping, intravoxel incoherent motion analysis and textural analysis, assess specific characteristics that may help grade the tumor and guide management, allowing for a more personalized approach to patient care. This review aims to analyze the utility of imaging in the surveillance and diagnosis of HCC and to assess novel techniques which may increase the accuracy of imaging and determine optimal treatment strategies.

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