Korean J Radiol.  2019 Apr;20(4):569-579. 10.3348/kjr.2018.0501.

Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Texture Analysis of Preoperative Computed Tomography Images Can Provide Markers of Tumor Grade and Disease-Free Survival

  • 1Department of Radiology, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Korea. jmsh@snu.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Radiology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Institute of Radiation Medicine, Seoul National University Medical Research Center, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4Institute of Nuclear Medicine, University College London, London, UK.


To investigate the usefulness of computed tomography (CT) texture analysis (CTTA) in estimating histologic tumor grade and in predicting disease-free survival (DFS) after surgical resection in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Eighty-one patients with a single HCC who had undergone quadriphasic liver CT followed by surgical resection were enrolled. Texture analysis of tumors on preoperative CT images was performed using commercially available software. The mean, mean of positive pixels (MPP), entropy, kurtosis, skewness, and standard deviation (SD) of the pixel distribution histogram were derived with and without filtration. The texture features were then compared between groups classified according to histologic grade. Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazards analyses were performed to determine the relationship between texture features and DFS.
SD and MPP quantified from fine to coarse textures on arterial-phase CT images showed significant positive associations with the histologic grade of HCC (p < 0.05). Kaplan-Meier analysis identified most CT texture features across the different filters from fine to coarse texture scales as significant univariate markers of DFS. Cox proportional hazards analysis identified skewness on arterial-phase images (fine texture scale, spatial scaling factor [SSF] 2.0, p <001; medium texture scale, SSF 3.0, p <001), tumor size (p = 0.001), microscopic vascular invasion (p = 0.034), rim arterial enhancement (p = 0.024), and peritumoral parenchymal enhancement (p = 0.010) as independent predictors of DFS.
CTTA was demonstrated to provide texture features significantly correlated with higher tumor grade as well as predictive markers of DFS after surgical resection of HCCs in addition to other valuable imaging and clinico-pathologic parameters.


Hepatocellular carcinoma; Computed tomography; Texture analysis; Recurrence; Disease-free survival; Prognosis
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