Intraoperative ultrasound for prediction of hepatocellular carcinoma biological behaviour: Prospective comparison with pathology

Roberto Santambrogio, Claudia Cigala, Matteo Barabino, Marco Maggioni, Giovanna Scifo, Savino Bruno, Emanuela Bertolini, Enrico Opocher, Gaetano Bulfamante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND & AIMS: Preoperative prediction of both microinvasive hepatocellular carcinoma and histological grade of hepatocellular carcinoma is pivotal to treatment planning and prognostication. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether some intraoperative ultrasound features correlate with both the presence of same histological patterns and differentiation grade of hepatocellular carcinoma on the histological features of the primary resected tumour.

METHODS: All patients with single, small hepatocellular carcinoma that underwent hepatic resection were included in this prospective double-blind study: the intraoperative ultrasound patterns of nodule were registered and compared with similar histological features.

RESULTS: A total of 179 patients were enclosed in this study: 97 (54%) patients (34% in HCC ≤2 cm) had a microinvasive hepatocellular carcinoma at ultrasound examination, while 82 (46%) patients (41% in HCC ≤2 cm) at histological evaluation. Statistical analysis showed that diameters ≤2 cm, presence of satellites and microinvasive hepatocellular carcinoma at ultrasound examination were the variables with the strongest association with the histological findings. In the multivariate analysis, the vascular microinfiltration and infiltrative hepatocellular carcinoma aspect were independent predictors for grading.

CONCLUSIONS: In patients with cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, the prevalence of microinvasive hepatocellular carcinoma is high, even in cases of HCC ≤2 cm. Intraoperative ultrasound findings strongly correlated with histopathological criteria in detecting microinvasive patterns and are useful to predict neoplastic differentiation. The knowledge of these features prior to treatment are highly desired (this can be obtained by an intraoperative ultrasound examination), as they could help in providing optimal management of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-320
Number of pages9
JournalLiver International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


  • Journal Article


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