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Retrospective Evaluation of Discrepancies between Radiological and Pathological Size of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Masses

  • Tian, Fei (Abdominal Surgery Department, Cancer Institute and Hospital, Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Wu, Jian-Xiong (Abdominal Surgery Department, Cancer Institute and Hospital, Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Rong, Wei-Qi (Abdominal Surgery Department, Cancer Institute and Hospital, Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Wang, Li-Ming (Abdominal Surgery Department, Cancer Institute and Hospital, Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Wu, Fan (Abdominal Surgery Department, Cancer Institute and Hospital, Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Yu, Wei-Bo (Abdominal Surgery Department, Cancer Institute and Hospital, Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences) ;
  • An, Song-Lin (Abdominal Surgery Department, Cancer Institute and Hospital, Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Liu, Fa-Qiang (Abdominal Surgery Department, Cancer Institute and Hospital, Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Feng, Li (Abdominal Surgery Department, Cancer Institute and Hospital, Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Liu, Yun-He (Abdominal Surgery Department, Cancer Institute and Hospital, Peking Union Medical College, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences)
  • Published : 2014.11.28

Abstract

Background: The size of a hepatic neoplasm is critical for staging, prognosis and selection of appropriate treatment. Our study aimed to compare the radiological size of solid hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) masses on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with the pathological size in a Chinese population, and to elucidate discrepancies. Materials and Methods: A total of 178 consecutive patients diagnosed with HCC who underwent curative hepatic resection after enhanced MRI between July 2010 and October 2013 were retrospectively identified and analyzed. Pathological data of the whole removed tumors wereassessed and differences between radiological and pathological tumor size were identified. All patients were restaged using a modified Tumor-Node-Metastasis (TNM) staging system postoperatively according to the maximum diameter alteration. The lesions were classified as hypo-staged, iso-staged or hyper-staged for qualitative assessment. In the quantitative analysis, the relative pre and postoperative tumor size contrast ratio ($%{\Delta}size$) was also computed according to size intervals. In addition, the relationship between radiological and pathological tumor diameter variation and histologic grade was analyzed. Results: Pathological examination showed 85 (47.8%) patients were overestimated, 82 (46.1%) patients underestimated, while accurate measurement by MRI was found in 11 (6.2%) patients. Among the total subjects, 14 (7.9%) patients were hypo-staged and 15 (8.4%) were hyper-staged post-operatively. Accuracy of MRI for calculation and characterized staging was related to the lesion size, ranging from 83.1% to 87.4% (<2cm to ${\geq}5cm$, p=0.328) and from 62.5% to 89.1% (cT1 to cT4, p=0.006), respectively. Overall, MRI misjudged pathological size by 6.0 mm (p=0.588 ), and the greatest difference was observed in tumors <2cm (3.6 mm, $%{\Delta}size=16.9%$, p=0.028). No statistically significant difference was observed for moderately differentiated HCC (5.5mm, p=0.781). However, for well differentiated and poorly differentiated cases, radiographic tumor maximum diameter was significantly larger than the pathological maximum diameter by 3.15 mm and underestimated by 4.51 mm, respectively (p=0.034 and 0.020). Conclusions: A preoperative HCC tumor size measurement using MRI can provide relatively acceptable accuracy but may give rise to discrepancy in tumors in a certain size range or histologic grade. In pathological well differentiated subjects, the pathological tumor size was significantly overestimated, but underestimated in poorly differentiated HCC. The difference between radiological and pathological tumor size was greatest for tumors <2 cm. For some HCC patients, the size difference may have implications for the decision of resection, transplantation, ablation, or arterially directed therapy, and should be considered in staging or selecting the appropriate treatment tactics.

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