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Prognostic significance of MRI features in patients with solitary large hepatocellular carcinoma following surgical resection.

European Radiology 2024 May 21
OBJECTIVE: To assess the prognostic impact of preoperative MRI features on outcomes for single large hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) (≥ 8 cm) after surgical resection.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: This retrospective study included 151 patients (mean age: 59.2 years; 126 men) with a single large HCC who underwent gadoxetic acid-enhanced MRI and surgical resection between 2008 and 2020. Clinical variables, including tumor markers and MRI features (tumor size, tumor margin, and the proportion of hypovascular component on hepatic arterial phase (AP) (≥ 50% vs. < 50% tumor volume) were evaluated. Cox proportional hazards model analyzed overall survival (OS), recurrence-free survival (RFS), and associated factors.

RESULTS: Among 151 HCCs, 37.8% and 62.2% HCCs were classified as ≥ 50% and < 50% AP hypovascular groups, respectively. The 5- and 10-year OS and RFS rates in all patients were 62.0%, 52.6% and 41.4%, 38.5%, respectively. Multivariable analysis revealed that ≥ 50% AP hypovascular group (hazard ratio [HR] 1.7, p = 0.048), tumor size (HR 1.1, p = 0.006), and alpha-fetoprotein ≥ 400 ng/mL (HR 2.6, p = 0.001) correlated with poorer OS. ≥ 50% AP hypovascular group (HR 1.9, p = 0.003), tumor size (HR 1.1, p = 0.023), and non-smooth tumor margin (HR 2.1, p = 0.009) were linked to poorer RFS. One-year RFS rates were lower in the ≥ 50% AP hypovascular group than in the < 50% AP hypovascular group (47.4% vs 66.9%, p = 0.019).

CONCLUSION: MRI with ≥ 50% AP hypovascular component and larger tumor size were significant factors associated with poorer OS and RFS after resection of single large HCC (≥ 8 cm). These patients require careful multidisciplinary management to determine optimal treatment strategies.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE STATEMENT: Preoperative MRI showing a ≥ 50% arterial phase hypovascular component and larger tumor size can predict worse outcomes after resection of single large hepatocellular carcinomas (≥ 8 cm), underscoring the need for tailored, multidisciplinary treatment strategies.

KEY POINTS: MRI features offer insights into the postoperative prognosis for large hepatocellular carcinoma. Hypovascular component on arterial phase ≥ 50% and tumor size predicted poorer overall survival and recurrence-free survival. These findings can assist in prioritizing aggressive and multidisciplinary approaches for patients at risk for poor outcomes.

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