Investig Magn Reson Imaging.  2021 Dec;25(4):313-322. 10.13104/imri.2021.25.4.313.

Diagnostic Image Feature and Performance of CT and Gadoxetic Acid Disodium-Enhanced MRI in Distinction of Combined HepatocellularCholangiocarcinoma from Hepatocellular Carcinoma

  • 1Department of Radiology, Research Institute of Radiological Science, Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Biostatistics Collaboration Unit, Department of Biomedical Systems Informatics, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


To find diagnostic image features, to compare diagnostic performance of multiphase CT versus gadoxetic acid disodium-enhanced MRI (GAD-MRI), and to evaluate the impact of analyzing Liver Imaging Reporting and Data System (LI-RADS) imaging features, for distinguishing combined hepatocellular-cholangiocarcinoma (CHC) from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Materials and Methods
Ninety-six patients with pathologically proven CHC (n = 48) or HCC (n = 48), diagnosed June 2008 to May 2018 were retrospectively analyzed in random order by three radiologists with different experience levels. In the first analysis, the readers independently determined the probability of CHC based on their own knowledge and experiences. In the second analysis, they evaluated imaging features defined in LI-RADS 2018. Area under the curve (AUC) values for CHC diagnosis were compared between CT and MRI, and between the first and second analyses. Interobserver agreement was assessed using Cohen’s weighted κ values.
Targetoid LR-M image features showed better specificities and positive predictive values (PPV) than the others. Among them, rim arterial phase hyperenhancement had the highest specificity and PPV. Average sensitivity, specificity, and AUC values were higher for MRI than for CT in both the first (P = 0.008, 0.005, 0.002, respectively) and second (P = 0.017, 0.026, 0.036) analyses. Interobserver agreements were higher for MRI in both analyses (κ = 0.307 for CT, κ = 0.332 for MRI in the first analysis; κ = 0.467 for CT, κ = 0.531 for MRI in the second analysis), with greater agreement in the second analysis for both CT (P = 0.001) and MRI (P < 0.001).
Rim arterial phase hyperenhancement on GAD-MRI can be a good indicator suggesting CHC more than HCC. GAD-MRI may provide greater accuracy than CT for distinguishing CHC from HCC. Interobserver agreement can be improved for both CT and MRI by analyzing LI-RADS imaging features.


Liver neoplasms; Combined hepatocellular-cholangiocarcinoma; Differential diagnosis; Sensitivity and specificity; Contrast media
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