Radiologic-pathologic analysis of contrast-enhanced and diffusion- weighted MR imaging in patients with HCC after TACE: diagnostic accuracy of 3D quantitative image analysis


PURPOSE: To evaluate the diagnostic performance of three-dimensional ( 3D three-dimensional ) quantitative enhancement-based and diffusion-weighted volumetric magnetic resonance (MR) imaging assessment of hepatocellular carcinoma ( HCC hepatocellular carcinoma ) lesions in determining the extent of pathologic tumor necrosis after transarterial chemoembolization ( TACE transarterial chemoembolization ). MATERIALS AND METHODS: This institutional review board-approved retrospective study included 17 patients with HCC hepatocellular carcinoma who underwent TACE transarterial chemoembolization before surgery. Semiautomatic 3D three- dimensional volumetric segmentation of target lesions was performed at the last MR examination before orthotopic liver transplantation or surgical resection. The amount of necrotic tumor tissue on contrast material-enhanced arterial phase MR images and the amount of diffusion- restricted tumor tissue on apparent diffusion coefficient ( ADC apparent diffusion coefficient ) maps were expressed as a percentage of the total tumor volume. Visual assessment of the extent of tumor necrosis and tumor response according to European Association for the Study of the Liver ( EASL European Association for the Study of the Liver ) criteria was performed. Pathologic tumor necrosis was quantified by using slide-by- slide segmentation. Correlation analysis was performed to evaluate the predictive values of the radiologic techniques. RESULTS: At histopathologic examination, the mean percentage of tumor necrosis was 70% (range, 10%-100%). Both 3D three-dimensional quantitative techniques demonstrated a strong correlation with tumor necrosis at pathologic examination (R(2) = 0.9657 and R(2) = 0.9662 for quantitative EASL European Association for the Study of the Liver and quantitative ADC apparent diffusion coefficient , respectively) and a strong intermethod agreement (R(2) = 0.9585). Both methods showed a significantly lower discrepancy with pathologically measured necrosis (residual standard error [ RSE residual standard error ] = 6.38 and 6.33 for quantitative EASL European Association for the Study of the Liver and quantitative ADC apparent diffusion coefficient , respectively), when compared with non- 3D three-dimensional techniques ( RSE residual standard error = 12.18 for visual assessment). CONCLUSION: This radiologic-pathologic correlation study demonstrates the diagnostic accuracy of 3D three-dimensional quantitative MR imaging techniques in identifying pathologically measured tumor necrosis in HCC hepatocellular carcinoma lesions treated with TACE transarterial chemoembolization .

Toby C. Cornish
Toby C. Cornish
Professor of Pathology and Biomedical Informatics

Clinical informaticist, gastrointestinal pathologist, and researcher.