Does the change in volumetric functional MR metrics post-TACE predict histopathologic grading of hepatocellular carcinoma?

Sanaz Ameli, Mohammadreza Shaghaghi, Mounes Aliyari Ghasabeh, Pallavi Pandey, Bita Hazhirkarzar, Roya Rezvani Habibabadi, Maryam Ghadimi, Pegah Khoshpouri, Ankur Pandey, Ihab R. Kamel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To evaluate whether the change in volumetric ADC (vADC) and volumetric venous enhancement (vVE) after transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) can predict the histologic grading of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Materials and methods: This HIPPA-compliant retrospective study was approved by our institutional review board. The study population included 106 HCC patients (147 index lesions) who had MR imaging within 3 months before and after TACE and pathologic report of the HCC either by biopsy or liver transplantation/resection between 2001 and 2017. Volumetric measurements of venous enhancement (VE) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) were performed on baseline and post-TACE MRI. The tumors were histologically classified into two low-grade and high-grade groups. The parameters between two groups were compared using bivariate and multivariate analyses. Results: Median change in vADC, vVE, and absolute vADC skewness after TACE was higher in low-grade HCCs as compared with high-grade HCCs (p < 0.001, p = 0.005, p = 0.04, respectively). Combining ΔvADC, ΔvVE, and the etiology for background liver disease in multivariate analysis had the highest accuracy in distinguishing high-grade tumors (AUC = 91%). Conclusion: ΔvADC and ΔvVE after TACE are potential predictors of HCC histopathological grading. Combining functional MRI biomarkers with the etiology of liver disease can enhance the accuracy in assessing degree of differentiation. Key Points: • Change in volumetric functional MRI biomarkers after TACE can be a non-invasive method to evaluate tumor histopathology in HCC. • The etiology of background liver disease might be a predictor of tumor degree of differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6709-6720
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean radiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Chemoembolization
  • Functional MRI
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Histopathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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