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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2010 December;101(6):395-404

language: English

Imaging of hepatocellular carcinoma and early diagnosis

Limaye A. R., Cabrera R.

Section of Hepatobiliary Diseases, Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA


The incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is steeply rising in industrialized nations, and the vast majority of patients do not qualify for curative treatment at the time of diagnosis. This phenomenon is directly related to the clinician’s ability to accurately diagnose HCC at an early stage, which can be quite challenging in the setting of a cirrhotic, nodular liver. A particular difficulty arises in the differentiation of very small neoplastic lesions from hyperplastic nodules. In the past decade, technological advances have made dynamic imaging of the cirrhotic liver more feasible, which in turn improves the sensitivity and specificity of these modalities for the diagnosis of HCC. In this article we describe the typical characteristics of HCCin modalities such as ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging, discuss the recent advances in dynamic imaging in each of these modalities, and review the published guidelines for surveillance and diagnosis for HCC.

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