Background: To categorize the helical computed tomographic (CT) intrahepatic recurrence patterns of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) after treatment with percutaneous ablation procedures. Methods: Double-phase helical CT studies of 67 patients with HCC recurrence were reviewed. The study population had undergone percutaneous ablation therapy procedures (multisession or single-session ethanol injection therapy, radiofrequency thermal ablation therapy, and interstitial laser photocoagulation therapy) for 120 HCC nodules. Results: Four patterns were defined. (A) Enhancing tissue within the edge of the ablated nodule on arterial phase images (ingrowth): this pattern was seen in five treated lesions (4.2% of all treated nodules) in five patients (7.5% of all patients with recurrence) 3-7 months after treatment (mean = 4 months). (B) Enhancing tissue around the treated nodule but continuously to its border on arterial-phase images (outgrowth): this pattern was found in 12 (10%) treated lesions in 12 patients (18%) 3-6 months after ablation (mean = 4 months). (C) Enhancing tissue within the same segment of the treated nodule on arterial phase images (spread): this pattern was detected in 10 (8%) treated lesions in 10 patients (15%) 3-6 months after treatment (mean = 5 months). (D) Enhancing tissue within different segments from the treated nodule on arterial phase images (progression): this pattern was identified in 34 patients (51%) with 53 (44%) treated tumors 5-22 months after ablation (mean = 8 months). A mixed pattern was found in six subjects (9%) with seven (6%) treated nodules. Among the 61 patients with a nonmixed pattern, there were 85 treated nodules with persistent necrosis, 17 treated nodules with local recurrence (pattern A or B), and 107 new nodules due to nonlocal recurrence (pattern C or D). Portal phase enhanced images and especially unenhanced images showed a lower detection rate and a lower lesion-to-liver conspicuity score (for all patterns but mainly for pattern C). Conclusion: Four patterns of recurrence after percutaneous ablation procedures can be categorized on double-phase helical CT and are best depicted on arterial phase images. Knowledge of these patterns is relevant for early detection and may be helpful in understanding the recurrence mechanism.
- Helical CT
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
- Percutaneous ablation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology